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Equality and Equity in Local Economic Development Outcomes: Women-Owned, Minority-Owned, and Veteran-Owned Business Growth and Economic Development Spending

IJED, Vol. 15 No. 1, 1-34 (2022)

We investigate the extent to which local economic development activities, even if not designed to do so, provide a benefit to populations who have not traditionally been the beneficiaries of development outcomes. In so doing, we focus on the impact of local economic development spending on the number and percent of women, minority, and veteran-owned businesses across communities in the state of Texas. We look at the influence of spending from two perspectives, equality and equity. Equal outcomes result when all businesses gain to the same degree, regardless of ownership. Equitable outcomes result if the number of businesses owned by non-traditional owners – women, minorities and veterans – increase more than those owned by traditional business owners. We examine various expenditure categories by city-level economic development corporations (EDCs) in over 100 Texas cities. Our findings show clear evidence of equal outcomes as the result of spending, though the extent to which these non-traditional business owners are uniquely advantaged is less apparent.

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