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The Economic War Among the States: A Symposium for National Discussion

CONCLUSIONS from the May conference are now available.

AUDIO FILES of Talk of the Nation and Marketplace broadcasts are available.







Audio Available
Listen to a Talk of the Nation broadcast and feature stories that aired on public radio during the course of the symposium.

The Economic War Among the States is produced by Minnesota Public Radio's Civic Journalism Initiative and is made possible by a major grant from the Ford Foundation. Editorial and publication support was provided by The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

Project Director: Leonard Witt,
Mr. Witt is the executive director of Minnesota Public Radio's Civic Journalism Initiative.

The City of St. Louis and State of Missouri put together a package of incentives costing taxpayers an estimated $720 million to bring the Los Angeles Rams professional football team to St. Louis. City and state officials call it critical to the economic development of the region.

Mitsubishi and Chrysler build a new plant in Normal/Bloomington, Illinois after state and local officials provide $250 million in incentives. A study by Illinois Wesleyan University finds the plant provides a major boon to the local economy.

Pennsylvania provides a $71 million incentive package to Volkswagen to open a factory, beating offers from competing states. The factory provides 6,000 jobs, but closes within a decade.

Who wins and who loses when states compete for new business and industry? And what policies are advisable as the use of tax and other incentives to lure economic development grows?

These questions lie at the heart of The Economic War Among the States, a symposium to focus attention on the issue, stimulate national discussion, and develop a reasoned response.

The symposium -- of which this Web site is but one part -- is your gateway into the issue of incentives that's emerging at state and local levels throughout the country.

The symposium offers a variety of ways for you to get involved:

Become Familiar with the Issue.
Within the introduction you can examine a series of papers that cover both economic and legal perspectives on the issue, including an essay published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in 1995 which introduced the issue to many government and financial leaders.

Explore the Online Case Study
In the case study by the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (KSG), you take the role of advisor to the governor of North Carolina. You must sort through a variety of facts and opinions and recommend a policy. You'll find commentaries by national experts (some of whom are available online to respond to your questions and comments) along with a rich selection of reference materials. You'll also find the results of the case study essay contest on this page.

Listen to Public Radio Broadcasts.
Broadcasts were scheduled on two nationally heard public radio programs. Marketplace broadcast a series of three reports the week of April 8. Talk of the Nation broadcast live during the conference May 22 with a national call-in program. Broadcast transcripts and audio files of the Marketplace series are available along with links to the Talk of the Nation audio site..

Join in the National Online Discussion.
State your position on the Letters page. Send an email to to provide ideas and resource information that may be of value to the symposium.

Ideas you express within the Letters sections will be shared with other users of the online symposium, and may be used to affect national policy. If you want to receive occasional email updates about the symposium, a message to will automatically put you on the emailing list.

Review the Results of the National Conference.
A conference in Washington DC in late May pulled together over 60 national experts from business, labor, government and academia. They identified six major policy questions for national discussion.

Review Summary Materials.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis will devote the entire June 1996 issue of its publication The Region to the symposium.