Fiscal Conditions, Unemployment and Debt-Financed Economic Development in Large U.S. Cities

Publication Date


Grant Type

Policy research grant


As employment growth spectacularly fails to keep pace with overall economic recovery in the U.S., the role of public policy in stimulating job creation has assumed an increasingly prominent role in public conversations. This research will first inventory the employment and fiscal conditions of U.S. cities with populations exceeding 500,000. This project will use regression analysis to test the hypothesis that cities with high sustained unemployment since 2007 are faring more poorly than their counterparts on a fiscal distress index. Second, the researcher will determine whether high-unemployment cities are more likely than low-unemployment cities to rely on debt-financed economic development initiatives reliant on revenue-backed debt, tax-increment financing, and tax-exempt debt extended to private firms via development authorities/agencies.

Grant Product

Predictors of Employment Growth and Unemployment in U.S. Central Cities, 1990-2010
Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 13-199, 2013