Here at Smart Incentives, we look at economic development

incentives as a process – not a transaction. 

Incentives are a means of achieving your community’s economic

development objectives, not just winning a deal.  

This is the framework we use to think about how to use

incentives effectively.

Our four core principles are that a) we use specialized data and analytical tools to support decision-making throughout the

incentives process, and b) we help the economic development profession prepare

for greater transparency and accountability in the use of


We apply these principles to the four different stages of

the incentives process:

  1. Recipient

    – As you begin the negotiation, have you done your due diligence on the company

    applying for incentives?  Are you

    prepared to explain your decision to your community?

  2. Deal

    – Are you confident you have negotiated a good deal that is likely to generate

    real benefits for your community? Can you justify this deal to your board,

    elected officials, and your community?

  3. Compliance

    – Once the deal is signed, how will you know if the company has complied with

    the incentive agreement and met its commitments to your community?  Can you answer questions on individual and

    program compliance rates?

  4. Effectiveness

    – Do you know if your incentive programs have helped your community achieve its

    economic development objectives?

This week founder Ellen Harpel will be speaking on how to implement two

different parts of this process.

Wednesday, May 22, 2:00 pm: IEDC webinar, “Build a Smart

Incentives Package: Community Impact Models” with John Cappellino of the Erie

County (NY) Industrial Development Agency.  Keywords: analytical tools, accountability,


Thursday, May 24, 3:45 pm: C2ER Annual Conference

(Nashville, TN) panel on “Using Research to Improve Incentive Decisions” with Wen Sun, C2ER, and Jeff Chapman, Pew Center on the States. Keywords data,

accountability, recipient