Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Urban and Public Affairs

Committee Chair

Cummings, Scott

Author's Keywords

Urban planning; Area planning & development; Business costs


Enterprise zones--Kentucky--Louisville; Enterprise zones--Law and legislation; Regional planning--Kentucky--Louisville; Economic policy--Kentucky--Louisville


Multiple analytic methods are used to provide an analysis and evaluation of specific economic and neighborhood development policies undertaken by and continued by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the City of Louisville, and Jefferson County since the early to mid-1980s. Such policies were initiated under the 1982 Kentucky Revised Statute 154.45 (KRS 154.45), which introduced enterprise zones to the Commonwealth and its urban areas. The policy goals of KRS 154.45 that are examined include: 1) the improvement of the quality of life of individuals that reside within the Louisville and Jefferson County Enterprise Zone (EZ); 2) the encouragement of economic activity through business formation, job creation, and job retention within the EZ; and 3) the elimination of blighted and deteriorated areas within the EZ. Several primary and general methods of analysis are utilized: direct comparisons of descriptive statistics, surveys, shift-share analysis, cost-benefit analysis and quasi-experimentation. The politics and history surrounding Louisville and Jefferson County's Enterprise Zone will also be discussed and examined. Political considerations appear to have played a key role in the evolution of the EZ program. The study shows that the EZ program cannot be considered a total success based upon the goals and objectives of KRS 154.45. It is estimated that nearly $218 million in foregone tax revenues and fees were used to create jobs and investment that would probably have been generated regardless of incentives. In fact, job and investment growth in the EZ did not come close to the growth experienced in other parts of Jefferson County that did not have EZ incentives as well as to that experienced by Jefferson County as a whole during the same time period. This is true even when controlling for government incentives that may have existed in other parts of Jefferson County. This study addresses the issues of local economic development policies and planning. A lack of planning and focus is identified as one reason why the EZ did not meet expectations. Other reasons why the EZ did not fully succeed will be discussed as well as possible alternative economic development programs that could have benefited the area targeted by the EZ program.