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Dr. Swenson Responds

On Monday the Sacramento Bee’s Dan Walters published another attack on the Enterprise Zone program touting the PPIC’s critical study and dismissing a University of Southern California study charging that it had been “quickly re-released,” and that Dr. Charles Swenson’s “affiliation with a company, National Tax Credit Group, that advises firms on how to obtain government tax breaks,” had not been disclosed.

I asked Dr. Swenson to react to Walters’ column. He said that,

The Universities of Maryland and Southern California and my two esteemed colleagues, economists Dr. John C. Ham and Dr. Ayse Imrohoroglu, who performed all the analysis and write-up, would be astounded with an insinuation that my membership on the advisory board of NTCG could have had any influence on this study.

Dr. Swenson added,

These universities and researchers have only one agenda: doing good science. My role was primarily to generate the idea, and to provide some input as to how the various states’ EZ systems worked. I could not have influenced the analysis or conclusions on this paper, even if I had wanted to.

Dr. Swenson was also on hand at the annual conference of the California Association of Enterprise Zones last week in Fresno to present the findings of the USC/University of Maryland study. At that presentation he pointed to serious flaws in the underlying business data that PPIC relied on.

It seems that Mr. Walters is less interested in actual academic findings than in promoting a specific agenda.

See also this additional paper authored by Dr. Swenson discussing specific issues in the related PPIC study.

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