Incentive use has grown dramatically and become a more prominent – and challenging – part of economic development work. Today’s environment requires better analytics to reduce risk, quantify benefits, refine strategies, explain and build support for decisions and, most importantly, to achieve better outcomes when using economic development incentives.

To accomplish these objectives, economic developers need to manage incentives through their entire life cycle, not just complete a deal. The graphic above summarizes the fundamental elements of good incentives program management.

The four core elements are data, analysis, transparency and accountability.  We need specialized data and analytical tools to support decision-making throughout the incentives process. We need to improve our ability to monitor and report on incentive outcomes to provide greater transparency and accountability in our use of incentives.

Economic developers can apply these principles to the four different stages of the incentives process:

Smart Incentives works every day to provide state and local governments the data and analytics they need to identify what works and to enable sound decisions when awarding incentives.