North Carolina and the Battle for Business

Available on line from the JFK School of Government, case study #1351.0 at

In-Class Role Playing Assignment
I am Governor Hunt, an ideologically malleable pro business democrat, who will have to make the decision on whether to expand the use of incentives to attract firms from outside of the state.  In order to make my decision, I need a detailed briefing from each team on the pros and cons of the issue.  Like most executives, I have a passing familiarity with the issues at hand, but have not immersed myself into the specifics.  I know about the Economic Development Board Task Force Report and its general view, but am very fuzzy about the specifics.  That is why I am counting on my two groups of advisors to brief me on the specifics of the issues.

You will be divided into two teams.  Each individual is free to assume a specific personality from the case study if they so wish.

1. the PROPONENTS OF INCENTIVES, including economic development  professionals and officials in the Commerce Department, who believe that without an increased use of incentives, the state had little hope of attracting the  kinds of investments that would serve as engines of growth into the 21st  century.
a. Gary Carlton, Director of Business and Industry Development
b. Rick Carlisle, Economic Policy Advisor to the Governor

2. the CRITICS OF INCENTIVES -- among them prominent legislators, business  leaders, and policy analysts who believe that incentives were a distraction  from state government's real task of fostering a healthy climate for all  businesses over the long term.
a. Daniel T. Blue, Jr. (D-Wake County), NC House of Representatives
b. John Hood, President, The John Locke Foundation

Each team will try to persuade me to their point of view based upon the interviews, the newspaper articles, reports, and the other information on the Web site.  Specifically, I need to be briefed on the following issues before I can make my decision:
1. North Carolina's economic situation;
2. its competitive position with regard to neighboring states;
3. the state's historical use of incentives;
4. the politics of the issue, i.e. how does if affect my reelection prospects!
5. what my position on industrial recruitment should be specifically, what strategy I should pursue and the rationale for that strategy (whether, how, and how aggressively to recruit business).

Case Study Policy Memo Guidelines
Due Monday, October 9, 2006

You are an old friend and confidant of North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt, with no official role in his administration. He is nearing the end of his current term and is soon to launch a re-election campaign. Gov. Hunt senses that his efforts in the realm of economic development policy have the potential to be hallmark achievements of his administration. The Governor has asked for your advice. He has made available to you all the information and recommendations that have reached him on the issue of whether, how, and how aggressively to recruit business. You have agreed to distill your advice into a confidential, five page memo.

The memo should address the following questions
• What is at stake?
• What criteria would you recommend for evaluating the desirability of alternative policies?
• What policy alternatives have you identified (at least three)?
• How would you evaluate the alternative policies in terms of your stated criteria?
• What is your concluding policy recommendation, including suggestions for implementation?

Memos will be graded on how well you refine the material down to the critical issues and develop and support a clear recommendation. You should present a single point of view and develop a recommendation based on North Carolina’ economic situation, its competitive position among its neighboring states, and the state’s historic use of incentives. Simply summarizing the information is not enough. The governor has asked for and values your opinion, which is what should come across in your memo.