Fiscal inequality and local economic development policies

Project Summary:

U.S. states and municipalities have increasingly granted targeted financial incentives to individual firms, arguing that upfront investments by governments will lead to job creation and increased tax revenues. Yet such policies increase inter-firm inequality by targeting a subset of firms while excluding others, and can distort local economic development by shifting scarce resources to individual firms. This project will explore the implications of these policies for state and local communities—including their effects on the distribution of tax burdens, budgets, and income inequality—through data collection aimed at documenting changing patterns of government spending and taxation across U.S. cities and states.


Nathan Jensen will be joining the University of Texas, Austin in September 2016 as a Professor of Government. He joined the George Washington University’s School of Business in 2014 as an Associate Professor in the Department of International Business.  Prior to joining George Washington University, he was an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis, Fellow at the Center for Political Economy, and Director for the Program on Multinational Enterprises and the Global Economy at the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy at Washington University.  He is currently a member at Evidence in Governance and Politics (EGAP), an organization dedicated to rigorous policy analysis and research transparency.
Jensen is the author of 34 peer-reviewed articles and two books.  His research interests include multinational enterprises and political risk, the relationship between foreign direct investment and corruption, and tax competition for investment. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University.

Selected Publications