Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Administration

First Advisor's Name

Sukumar Ganapati

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Milena Neshkova

Third Advisor's Name

Richard Tardanico

Fourth Advisor's Name

N. Emel Ganapati

Fifth Advisor's Name

Shaoming Cheng


urban studies, economic development, public administration, shift-share analysis, statistical regression, case study

Date of Defense



In the United States, the federal Empowerment Zone (EZ) program aimed to create and retain business investment in poor communities and to encourage local hiring through the use of special tax credits, relaxed regulations, social service grants, and other incentives. My dissertation explores whether the Round II Urban EZs had a beneficial impact on local communities and what factors influenced the implementation and performance of the EZs, using three modes of inquiry.

First, linear regression models investigate whether the federal revitalization program had a statistically significant impact on the creation of new businesses and jobs in Round II Urban EZ communities. Second, location quotient and shift-share analysis are used to reveal the industry clusters in three EZ communities that experienced positive business and job growth. Third, qualitative analysis is employed to explore factors that influenced the implementation and performance of EZs in general, and in particular, Miami-Dade County, Florida.

The results show an EZ’s presence failed to have a significant influence on local business and job growth. In communities that experienced a beneficial impact from EZs, there has been a pattern of decline in manufacturing companies and increase in service-driven firms. The case study suggests that institutional factors, such as governance structure, leadership, administrative capacity, and community participation have affected the effectiveness of the program’s implementation and performance.





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