Below are the abstract and full study from George Mason University on The Economics of a Targeted Economic Development Subsidy (examining the Foxconn deal in Wisconsin). There’s much to consider in this work, for the Foxconn project, and by reasonable extension to other government-targeted business subsidies.
In an effort to spur economic growth and to burnish their job-creation bona fides, policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels often dispense targeted economic development subsidies. These selective incentives include targeted tax relief, targeted regulatory relief, cash subsidies, and in-kind donations of land and other valuable goods and services. The weight of economic theory suggests that these subsidies do not work and may even depress economic activity. In this paper, we review the economic case for and against targeted economic development subsidies, using Wisconsin’s $1.2 billion to $3.6 billion subsidy to Foxconn to illustrate these points. We show that under realistic scenarios the subsidy may depress state economic activity by tens of billions of dollars over the next 15 years.
Previously: 10 Key Articles About Foxconn, Foxconn as Alchemy: Magic Multipliers, Foxconn Destroys Single-Family Homes, Foxconn Devours Tens of Millions from State’s Road Repair Budget, The Man Behind the Foxconn Project, A Sham News Story on Foxconn, Another Pig at the Trough, Even Foxconn’s Projections Show a Vulnerable (Replaceable) Workforce, Foxconn in Wisconsin: Not So High Tech After All, Foxconn’s Ambition is Automation, While Appeasing the Politically Ambitious, Foxconn’s Shabby Workplace Conditions, Foxconn’s Bait & Switch, Foxconn’s (Overwhelmingly) Low-Paying Jobs, The Next Guest Speaker, Trump, Ryan, and Walker Want to Seize Wisconsin Homes to Build Foxconn Plant, Foxconn Deal Melts Away, “Later This Year,” Foxconn’s Secret Deal with UW-Madison, Foxconn’s Predatory Reliance on Eminent Domain, Foxconn: Failure & Fraud, Foxconn Roundup: Desperately Ill Edition, Foxconn Roundup: Indiana Layoffs & Automation Everywhere, Foxconn Roundup: Outside Work and Local Land, Foxconn Couldn’t Even Meet Its Low First-Year Goal, Foxconn Talks of Folding Wisconsin Manufacturing Plans, WISGOP Assembly Speaker Vos Hopes You’re Stupid, Lost Homes and Land, All Over a Foxconn Fantasy, Laughable Spin as Industrial Policy, Foxconn: The ‘State Visit Project,’ ‘Inside Wisconsin’s Disastrous $4.5 Billion Deal With Foxconn,’ Foxconn: When the Going Gets Tough…, The Amazon-New York Deal, Like the Foxconn Deal, Was Bad Policy, Foxconn Roundup, Foxconn: The Roads to Nowhere, Foxconn: Evidence of Bad Policy Judgment, Foxconn: Behind Those Headlines, Foxconn: On Shaky Ground, Literally, Foxconn: Heckuva Supply Chain They Have There…, Foxconn: Still Empty, and the Chairman of the Board Needs a Nap, Foxconn: Cleanup on Aisle 4, Foxconn: The Closer One Gets, The Worse It Is, Foxconn Confirm Gov. Evers’s Claim of a Renegotiation Discussion, America’s Best Know Better, Despite Denials, Foxconn’s Empty Buildings Are Still Empty, Right on Schedule – A Foxconn Delay, Foxconn: Reality as a (Predictable) Disappointment, Town Residents Claim Trump’s Foxconn Factory Deal Failed Them, Foxconn: Independent Study Confirms Project is Beyond Repair, It Shouldn’t, Foxconn: Wrecking Ordinary Lives for Nothing, Hey, Wisconsin, How About an Airport-Coffee Robot?, Be Patient, UW-Madison: Only $99,300,000.00 to Go!, Foxconn: First In, Now Out, Foxconn on the Same Day: Yes…um, just kidding, we mean no, and Foxconn: ‘Innovation Centers’ Gone in a Puff of Smoke.