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enterprise zone

  An area within which special policies apply to encourage economic development through private investment. Enterprise zone (EZs) provide tax concessions and reduced planning restrictions for companies establishing facilities. They represent a neo-liberal approach to the development of declining areas by promoting market solutions to economic problems. Critics argue that their effect is often to move existing jobs rather than to create new ones and that the real impact has involved concentration of power in the central state and loss of control by the local state over development strategies. Similar areas of deregulation have been established in a number of countries in different forms. Some 30 EZs were established in Britain between 1981 and 1993, whereas in the USA 34 states had active EZ programmes by 1995. The People\'s Republic of China was a pioneer in declaring \'special economic zones\' (most famously in Shen-chen) from 1979 onwards to encourage foreign investment. (JP)

Suggested Reading Wilder, M.G. and Rubin, B.M. 1996: Rhetoric versus reality: a review of studies on state enterprise zone programs. Journal of the American Planning Association 62: 473-91.



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