Incentives were big news in 2017. The popular conversation was dominated by coverage of the Foxconn investment in Wisconsin and Amazon’s RFP for its HQ2 site. Our readers followed these stories closely, but also continued to express interest in ways to use incentives more effectively and responsibly in pursuit of a variety of community economic development objectives. This article recaps our most popular blog posts for 2017.

1. 4 takeaways from Nestlé’s HQ relocation announcement

Nestlé’s announcement that it would move its US headquarters from California to Arlington, Virginia, showed similarities to other recent headquarters moves. This article summarizes lessons for communities seeking to attract or retain these high profile activities. Hint: It’s not just about the money. 

2. Incentives and equitable economic development

There are literally thousands of state and local incentive programs, many of which are – at least on paper – intended to help people in need or places that have been left behind. This post describes several ways in which incentives are designed to achieve the goals of inclusive and equitable economic development.

3. New state economic development website raises the bar

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development debuted a new Performance Metrics Dashboard that is a promising model for state and local economic development reporting.

4. Economic development programs for small business

43 state economic development incentive programs designed to help small businesses are identified with the help of the C2ER State Business Incentives Database.  

5. Redefining economic development performance indicators

State economic development leaders have embraced the need to report program outcomes to demonstrate the impact of their efforts but seek better indicators to measure those outcomes. A new paper from the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness,  Redefining Economic Development Performance Indicators for a Field in Transition, identifies a set of metrics beyond jobs and investment tallies to capture the broader benefits of economic development initiatives.