New Analysis Finds Early, Positive Outcomes for Opportunity Zones

Posted by Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity on April 11, 2023

In this Spotlight exclusive, we speak with John Lettieri, President and CEO of Economic Innovation Group (EIG), and Kenan Fikri, EIG’s Director for Research, about two recent papers that analyze Opportunity Zones, which were designed to offer a new federal incentive to spur investment in low-income and undercapitalized communities. In the first two years of operation, Opportunity Zones drew almost $50 billion dollars in investment and about 25,000 investors, and Lettieri and Fikri argue that the policy is successfully motivating the kind of activity Congress intended. The research indicates that the program is creating net new activity in cities, having positive spillover effects from the zones into neighboring communities, and boosting development and housing values at a citywide scale. Lettieri says while he is not surprised to see such positive results from Opportunity Zones, “to see it happening again in such a relatively short timeframe and at such a compelling scale was encouraging.”

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