Job Growth from Opportunity Zones

Monday February 1, 2021
  • Working Paper


The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 established a new program called Opportunity Zones (OZs) that created tax advantages for investing in businesses or real estate in a limited number of low-income Census tracts. We use a census of establishment-level data on employment to identify the effect of the program on job creation. We show that in metropolitan areas, the OZ designation increased employment growth relative to comparable tracts by between 3.0 and 4.5 percentage points and new jobs were created across many different industries and education levels. The OZ designation did not create jobs in rural areas.


Andra C. Ghent, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
Alina Arefeva, Wisconsin School of Business
Morris A. Davis, Rutgers Business School
Minseon Park, University of Wisconsin-Madison