The legacy of the federal government's Empowerment
Zone initiative is contested. The evidence undergirding the initiative's
legacy, however, is based primarily on models that estimate national effects.
We use an alternative evaluation strategy that places greater emphasis on
local Empowerment Zones as distinct programs. Our findings show that several
cities did produce improvements that likely can be attributed to the EZ
initiative. The results, however, are not consistent across outcomes or
cities. Our findings suggest that what happens locally is a vital concern for
federal urban policy and also informative for local communities with
responsibility for crafting and executing revitalization strategies.