Understanding the Stimulus: An Illustrative Guide to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
Author: Anne Berlin, Fran Doherty, Matthew Texler. 2010. 21 Pages.

The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) is a large federal spending package subject to, understandably, intense public scrutiny. Touted as the key to lessening our recessionary woes while investing in the economic engines of the future, the bill is accompanied by high expectations for both immediate and transformative impacts. This pressure to deliver results is set against a backdrop of rising unemployment, depressed consumer spending, an acute housing slump, a precarious commercial real estate market & projected state and local budget deficits through fiscal year 2011. Economic developers are at the epicenter of generating and measuring sustainable impacts through ARRA programs, and need to be well versed on its nuances. The purpose of this research document is three fold:

  • Assist economic developers in understanding and communicating what the stimulus package can and cannot do based on its design.
  • Contribute to a more nuanced approach to assessing the use of stimulus funds, given the backdrop of acute economic malaise, to prepare economic developers for effective public relations when reporting on impacts.
  • Produce a range of case narratives against which communities and organizations can evaluate their own progress, potentially providing the spark for improvements. The cases will also serve to help economic developers define success given the current climate.

IEDC Members, please visit the EDRP Publications page to download this publication for free.


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