The Impact of Opportunity Zones on Commercial Investment and Economic Activity

74 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2022 Last revised: 18 Jan 2023

See all articles by Naomi Feldman

Naomi Feldman

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Kevin Corinth

University of Chicago

Date Written: January 17, 2023


A provision of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 offered tax incentives for investing in certain low-income areas in the United States called Opportunity Zones. The goal of this provision was to spur private investment in OZs in order to improve the economic well-being of their residents. Using a regression discontinuity design and data on the universe of all significant commercial investments in the United States, we find that OZ eligibility led to no statistically significant increase in investment in OZs. We can rule out at the 95 percent confidence level an increase in the probability of investment of more than 1.3 percentage points (4.9%), an increase in the number of annualized investments of more than 0.01 (6.7%), and an increase in annualized dollars of investment of more than $0.16 million per census tract (8.2%). These findings are supported by data from Mastercard that show no evidence of increased business activity nor consumer spending. Overall, our findings suggest that the impact of the OZ place-based investment incentives on economic improvement has thus far been limited.

Keywords: Opportunity zones, investment, tax policy, poverty

JEL Classification: H53, E22, D61

Suggested Citation

Feldman, Naomi and Corinth, Kevin, The Impact of Opportunity Zones on Commercial Investment and Economic Activity (January 17, 2023). Available at SSRN: or

Naomi Feldman (Contact Author)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91905

Kevin Corinth

University of Chicago ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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