The Impacts of Opportunity Zones on Zone Residents
Created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017, the Opportunity Zone program was designed to encourage investment in distressed communities across the U.S. We examine the early impacts of the Opportunity Zone program on residents of targeted areas. We leverage restricted-access microdata from the American Community Survey and employ difference-in-differences and matching approaches to estimate causal reduced-form effects of the program. Our results point to modest, if any, positive effects of the Opportunity Zone program on the employment, earnings, or poverty of zone residents.
We are grateful for helpful comments from Timothy Bartik, Aaron Hedlund, Rebecca Lester, Brett Theodos, and participants at the Brookings Institution conference “Opportunity Zones: The Early Evidence.” This paper uses restricted-access data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Any views expressed are those of the authors and not those of the U.S. Census Bureau. The Census Bureau's Disclosure Review Board and Disclosure Avoidance Officers have reviewed this information product for unauthorized disclosure of confidential information and have approved the disclosure avoidance practices applied to this release. This research was performed at the UC Irvine Federal Statistical Research Data Center under FSRDC Project Number 2146 (CBDRB-FY21-P2146-R8858). The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.