Key Points

There is anecdotal evidence that equitable economic development activities can foster inclusive growth and unlock the full potential of local economies by dismantling barriers and expanding opportunities for low-income people and communities of color. These strategies are being used with increasing frequency, and advocates and funders are pressing for their use throughout the country. Because of this, there is a need to better understand the link between equitable economic development activities and their ability to foster equitable opportunities and resulting impacts.

Establishing this link will require a new measurement strategy because traditional measures of economic development effectiveness focus on communitywide benefits, which can mask the variations of growth for different populations. New measurements need to focus on whether equitable economic development activities have, in fact, dismantled barriers or expanded opportunities for individuals who have faced historic bias and or disadvantage, and also who is benefitting from economic growth.

This article presents a framework of leading equitable economic development strategies, and proposes an approach for measuring their effects on barriers, opportunities, and end outcomes by population characteristics.

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Support for this open access article was provided by Community Science, Inc.

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