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Past Event

Opportunity Zones: The early evidence

Past Event

In an effort to spur economic development in distressed and left-behind communities, the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created more than 8,700 Opportunity Zones across the country and offered favorable capital gains tax treatment to investments in those low-incomes communities. Although Opportunity Zones are still young, they are already stimulating rigorous research.  

To share, discuss, and critique that work, the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at Brookings convened a virtual conference on Wednesday, February 24. Ed Glaeser of Harvard gave opening remarks, followed by a presentation from Kenan Fikri of the Economic Innovation Group. There were then four sessions, organized by topic, each containing several paper presentations and discussant responses.

Scroll down to watch video by session.



David WesselBrookings Hutchins Center 


Opening remarks
Ed GlaeserHarvard University 


Kenan FikriEconomic Innovation Group  

Choosing the Zones

“What determines where opportunity knocks? Political affiliation in the selection and early effects of Opportunity Zones” 

  • Mary Margaret FrankUniversity of Virginia Darden School of Business 
  • Jeffrey HoopesUniversity of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School 
  • Rebecca LesterStanford Graduate School of Business 


“Does government play favorites? Evidence from Opportunity Zones” 

  • Ofer EldarDuke University 
  • Chelsea Garber, Duke University 


DiscussantBrett TheodosUrban Institute 

From this Session

Labor market effects

“What is the impact of Opportunity Zones on employment?” 

  • Rachel AtkinsNew York University Stern School of Business 
  • Pablo Hernández-LagosNew York University, Abu Dhabi 
  • Cristian Jara-FigueroaMassachusetts Institute of Technology 
  • Robert SeamansNew York University Stern School of Business


“Job growth from Opportunity Zones” 

  • Alina ArefevaUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison Wisconsin School of Business 
  • Morris DavisRutgers University Business School 
  • Andra GhentUniversity of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School 
  • Minseon ParkUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison 


“The impacts of Opportunity Zones on zone residents” 

  • David NeumarkUniversity of California, Irvine 
  • Matthew FreedmanUniversity of California, Irvine 
  • Shantanu KhannaUniversity of California, Irvine 



  • Tim BartikUpjohn Institute 
  • Aaron Hedlund, University of Missouri & Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis 


From this Session

Case studies

“Was gentrification a factor in designation of Opportunity Zones?: A study of 100 most populous cities with DC as case study” 

  • Haydar KurbanHoward University 
  • Charlotte OtaborDC Office of the Chief Financial Officer 
  • Bethel ColeHoward University 


Discussant: Nate Jensen, University of Texas-Austin


“Missed opportunity: The West Baltimore Opportunity Zones story” 

  • Sandra NewmanJohns Hopkins University 
  • Michael SnidalColumbia University 


Discussant: Ben SeigelBaltimore Development Corp. 

From this Session

Property price effects

“The impact of Opportunity Zones on commercial investment and economic activity” 

  • Kevin Corinth, University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy
  • Naomi Feldman, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel


“Where is the opportunity in Opportunity Zones?” 

  • Alan Sage, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Real Estate
  • Mike Langen, University of Reading Henley Business School
  • Alex van de Minne, University of Connecticut Business School


“Do Opportunity Zones create opportunities?” 

  • James Alm, Tulane University
  • Trey Dronyk-Trosper, Amazon
  • Sean Larkin, Tulane University


“The (non-)effect of Opportunity Zones on housing prices” 

  • Jiafeng (Kevin) Chen, Harvard University
  • Ed Glaeser, Harvard University
  • David Wessel, Brookings Hutchins Center



  • Susan WachterUniversity of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business 
  • Carlianne Elizabeth PatrickGeorgia State University 

Closing conversation

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