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Evaluation of the Enterprise Zone Programme

This study, commissioned by the Department of the Environment, evaluated the effects of the national Enterprise Zone experiment within an economic cost benefit framework. The study involved a face-to-face interviewing programme for 800 companies backed up by a postal survey of 8500 companies on and off the Enterprise Zones. In addition, the research included specialised studies of retailing and of local property markets, with the aim of shedding light on specific aspects of local property development likely to be affected by the designation of an Enterprise Zone. A central objective of the research was to estimate the number of jobs created by the EZ Programme. The methodology followed in earlier work has been refined and extended for this purpose, giving robust estimates of the genuine job-creating effect (net of displacement and other knock-on effects) of Enterprise Zones.

As well as providing a global assessment of the role of policy in economic regeneration, the study has generated a wealth of new information on the effect of pull and push factors on the location of small and medium sized firms. It has also yielded insights into the effect of industrial and commercial property development on new firm start-ups.

A further commission from the Department of the Environment involved undertaking a final assessment of the Enterprise Zone experiment. This required the annual monitoring of existing sites with a survey of firms on and off sites at the end of the Enterprise Zone period. This study broke new ground in the evaluation of property driven regeneration measures by investigating the multi-benefits produced by such measures in labour, land and property markets.