Graham Sustainability Institute

Opportunity Zones: State-Level Analysis

April 2020

Opportunity zones are designed to spur economic development and job creation in underserved communities by providing tax benefits to investors. They are designated by state governors and approved by the federal government in an attempt to address poverty. A Dow Fellow team conducted an analysis of how states engage with and capitalize on opportunity zone incentives. They completed five case studies, focusing on California, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Arizona, and Ohio. They found that each state varies in its strategy to attract investment and in the opportunity zone policies. Some state governments actively seek opportunity zone investment, while others passively allow the market to govern what types of investments will occur. Non-profits in some states also support opportunity zone use through various community engagement measures. However, it is unclear how much money is actually funneled into opportunity zones.                                           

Location: Western Ann Arbor, Michigan
Project Advisor: Prof. Marc Norman
Project Team: McKenzie Southworth, Law School; Sacha-Rose Phillips, School for Environment and Sustainability and Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy (PP); Candice Ammori, School of Public Health; and Alissa Graff, PP, and School of Information