ERIC Number: ED405370
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996
Reference Count: N/A
Can Economic Development Programs Be Evaluated?
Bartik, Timothy J.; Bingham, Richard D.
The question of whether economic development programs can be evaluated seems simple, but the answer is not simple because of the nature of evaluation. Determining a program's effectiveness requires the evaluator to distinguish changes due to the program from changes due to nonprogram factors. The evaluator must focus on outcomes caused by the program rather than on program procedures. Process, or formative, evaluations are important in determining how a program is delivered, but the focus in this paper is on program outcomes and impact evaluation, the summative evaluation of programs. The three types of economic development evaluations that are needed are community evaluations, evaluations of effects on individual firms, and community impact evaluations. Good quantitative evaluations of economic development programs require the use of a comparable group of unassisted communities or firms. Good evaluations of such programs are rather rare, but they can be encouraged through: (1) Federal funding and standards; (2) greater professionalization of economic development agencies and legislative review committees; and (3) the demonstration effect of good evaluations. Developing a tradition of high quality evaluations of economic development programs is likely to take some time, but it can be done. (Contains 27 references.) (SLD)
Descriptors: Community Development, Comparative Analysis, Demonstration Programs, Developmental Programs, Economic Development, Economic Impact, Evaluation Methods, Evaluation Utilization, Federal Government, Financial Support, Formative Evaluation, Program Effectiveness, Program Evaluation, Standards, Summative Evaluation
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A