The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Economic Development Myths

I frequently hear claims made for some development project claiming that the project will create either some large number of jobs or billions of economic development dollars. New projects are all tied to this “great” initial project which in its’ own right may be of dubious value.

There are several obvious misconceptions with this thinking. First, it is very difficult to tie a dollar value to any given project beyond the initial expenditure. Metro is claiming billions of dollars due to Metrolink, a very dubious proposition. There are claims the trolley in Kansas City has created billions of dollars in investment. The main flaw in this thinking is that this secondary development would not have happened if not for the initial development. How do we know? It is safe to say that the Cortex project would have taken place with or without Metrolink.

In conclusion, we should be highly suspicious of economic development statistics. Written by Paul Dribin


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