Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than two years after Amazon announced its search for a second headquarters and cities around the U.S. bent over backwards to offer the megacompany as much free cash and incentives as they could, new research confirms what economists have been saying for years: Such programs are a waste of money.

Driving the news: A paper from researchers at Princeton and Columbia Business School found "no evidence" that business tax incentives given to individual companies increased broader economic growth at the state and local level.

Why it matters: It's not just Amazon's highly publicized HQ2 that has attracted massive tax subsidies from city and state governments.

  • Research shows states continue to offer up increasingly large sums of money to big-name companies in an effort that proves more effective at generating headlines than economic growth.

Details: In 2014, the study found that about $7 billion — or about a third of total state incentive spending that year — "went to .0072% of new firms and 1.41% of all jobs created by those firms."

  • An earlier study found that despite their ineffectiveness, incentives offered to individual companies tripled between 1990 and 2015.
  • The Princeton/CBS study estimates that state and local governments spend at least $30 billion a year on business tax incentives — well above the 2014 total.
  • About a quarter of all business tax incentives are given to a very small collection of firms opening offices in new locations — less than .01% of firms opening in new locations in 2014.

The intrigue: New York offered Amazon $800 million more in incentives than was previously known and was even prepared to pay part of some employees’ salaries, WSJ reported (subscription) Sunday.

  • Amazon has since announced plans to lease 335,000 square feet on Manhattan’s West Side without any special tax credits, and executives have said the HQ2 decision was based more on where employees would want to live than incentives.
  • Newark had dangled $7 billion and officials in Maryland had offered $5 billion, both far exceeding packages offered by Virginia and New York.

Between the lines: Co-authors Cailin Slattery and Owen Zidar wrote in the study that they found a slightly negative effect on housing markets for municipalities that attract new companies with incentives, "seeing, on average, a 4% decrease in house prices."

  • "This apparent decline in house prices provides some weakly suggestive evidence that the welfare effects of these subsidies might be negative on average."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
21 mins ago - Health

Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden's plan to accelerate the reopening of K-8 schools faces major challenges from a still out-of-control pandemic and more contagious coronavirus variants.

Why it matters: The longer American kids miss in-person schooling, the further they fall behind. But the uncertain state of the science on the role young children play in the pandemic continues to complicate efforts to reopen schools.

Focus group: Former Trump voters say he should never hold office again

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

"Relief" is the top emotion some swing voters who used to support Donald Trump say they felt as they watched President Biden's swearing-in, followed by "hope."

Why it matters: For voters on the bubble between parties, this moment is less about excitement for Biden or liberal politics than exhaustion and disgust with Trump and a craving for national healing. Most said Trump should be prohibited from ever holding office again.

Updated 14 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.