No Easy Answers

The Brookings Review publishes cautionary notes for competitive cities.

Read Time: 1 minute

July 23, 2000, 6:30 AM PDT

By Chris Steins @urbaninsight


Leaders of American cities seeking to foster economic growth often look to success stories from other cities, hoping to find models and strategies to replicate. Some favorite strategies include investing in infrastructure, lowering taxes (both overall and in a targeted fashion), building sports stadiums, picking and promoting particular industries (such as "high tech"), and investing in casino gambling. But many benefits of those popular success stories are at best exaggerated and at worst apocryphal. Although the strategies sound appealing, and although each may have worked in particular well-publicized circumstances, as gambling did in Las Vegas, they are typically not successful and policymakers should be cautious in pursuing them. Ingrid Gould Ellen is an assistant professor and Amy Ellen Schwartz an associate professor at the Wagner School of Public Service, New York University.

Thanks to Chris Steins

Friday, July 14, 2000 in The Brookings Institution

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