by Sarah Curry
Director of Fiscal Policy Studies
For years the John Locke Foundation has been claiming that economic incentives distort the free market and pick winners and losers. A recent article by the Asheville-Citizen Times is talking about a recent JLF study on county economic incentives, and the comments included in the article from a local Asheville economist hit the nail on the head.
“All economists and even most economic development folks agree we’d all be better off if they were banned. However, that isn’t going to happen,” said nationally renowned economist James Smith of Asheville.
While Smith agrees with JLF, there are still some that do not agree, and the article also mentioned the opposing sides of the argument.
A panel of more than 40 economic experts put together by the Initiative on Global Markets in March offered some support for the idea that incentives help local communities, with the benefits outweighing the costs.
But the same panel of economists, who came from universities including Yale, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, Princeton and Chicago, collectively leaned toward the idea that incentives hurt the national economy.