Report Economic Development

Managing Economic Development Programs in NYC: Lessons for the Next Mayor From the Past Decade

The Most Important Economic and Fiscal Decisions Facing the Next Mayor

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December 06, 2013

Economic development in the form of more jobs and higher incomes is typically a goal of every municipal administration. The extent to which the goal is achieved depends on multiple factors, with the activities typically identified as economic development programs being only one contributor to the outcomes. While local changes in New York City’s employment and wage levels will vary in response to international, national and regional forces, the ways in which municipal leaders, especially the Mayor, manage the available economic development programs can also play a significant role. This paper describes the economic development programs used in New York City and assesses the experience during the Bloomberg Administration in order to provide suggestions for further improvements by the next Mayor.

The paper is organized in four sections. The first identifies the goals of economic development policy and presents New York City’s performance with respect to these goals over the period since 2000, the start of a new decade and a year before the start of a new mayoral administration. The trend has been notable improvement in most indicators, and the second section considers the factors that help explain the gains. Included among the factors are national developments and local contextual forces that affect the quality of life in the city and its attractiveness; economic development programs and the ways they are intended to improve performance are identified separately. The third section assesses the ways in which the Bloomberg Administration has implemented the available economic development programs, pointing out strengths and weaknesses, since its first budget in fiscal year 2002. The last section presents recommendations that build upon the record of the past to improve future performance.

This paper was developed for a CBC Conference, The Most Important Economic and Fiscal Decisions Facing the Next Mayor, held on December 6, 2013 in New York City.  

A video of the presentation and panel discussion can be found here