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Ellen Harpel


Smart Incentives


Dr. Ellen Harpel helps communities make sound decisions throughout the economic development incentives process. Her focus is ensuring incentive programs support community economic development strategies and help places grow in the ways their residents desire. Ellen is also at the forefront of efforts to develop better methods for monitoring compliance and evaluating the effectiveness of incentive programs.

Ellen speaks and writes frequently on incentive policies for audiences comprising economic developers, elected leaders, and finance professionals. She contributed the chapter on “Cost-Benefit Analysis of Investment Incentives” for Rethinking Investment Incentives: Trends and Policy Options (Columbia University Press 2016) and is the co-author of Redefining Economic Development Performance Indicators for a Field in Transition (2017) with the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness. Recent projects have included state and local incentive program evaluations, competitive analyses of incentive policies, and assessments of incentive management practices.
Ellen holds a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, an MBA from the University of North Carolina, and Ph.D. in regional economics from George Mason University.

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