Incentives Policy

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Economic development incentives are inducements offered by a jurisdiction to persuade a business to remain, expand or move to that place. In North Carolina, state law authorizes municipal and county governments to use incentives for economic development purposes.1

Read more about incentives policies

Economic Incentive Deals in NC and Eastern North Carolina by Kate Dydak and Heather Hunt


Interactive Policymaking: Incentives by Heather Hunt


Incentives Policy Contract

Download the Contract


Case Studies

Chatham County
Durham County
Warren County

Case studies by Nichola Lowe, PhD, Associate Professor City and Regional Planning, UNC-Chapel Hill

Question and Answer

Q.  I would like to learn more about economic incentives contracts that require living wage. NC 160A-20.1, indicates that a City may not require a private contractor to abide by any restriction that the City could not impose on all employers in the City.  Am I correct that we would be prohibited from placing a wage requirement based on this statute?  Do any communities have Living Wage provisions as a requirement for incentives?  -- municipal economic development official

A. In the context of an economic development incentive agreement, it is perfectly permissible to require a company receiving an incentive to pay a certain wage. In fact, G.S. 158-7.1(d) requires a local government to make findings about wages to be paid to workers and G.S. 158-7.1(d2) involves minimum wage requirements. Many local governments will not offer incentives to a company unless the company promises to pay wages that exceed the county’s average wage.  G.S. 160A-20.1 pertains to requirements imposed “as a condition of bidding on a contract.” It does not apply to the economic development incentive context, because in the econ dev context a company is not bidding for a contract. In some ways the opposite is true—the local government is the one bidding in competition with other local governments to attract jobs and private investment.

--Tyler Mulligan, Associate Professor UNC School of Government, - 919.962.0987,

More Reading

Leveraging Incentives for Community Economic Development [PDF] by Kate Dydak and Heather Hunt

A break for local workers
In these difficult economic times, good jobs-related news is often hard to come by. Durham received some recently when an electronics manufacturer from the United Kingdom announced it had picked the Bull City to build a large-scale manufacturing facility.
Making North Carolina's Economic Development Incentive Programs Work Better through Strategic Investments
In the current era of persistently high unemployment and the most sluggish economic recovery in 70 years, policymakers face the critical challenge of promoting economic growth and job creation amidst a budget crisis largely driven by collapsing revenues. BTC Reports, T. William Lester, Nichola Lowe, and Allan Freyer
Grow your own way
UNC researchers are helping Warren County officials find ways to boost local business without sacrificing their rural quality of life.
Economic Development Tax Incentives
Pew's research reveals that lawmakers often approve or continue incentives without knowing their potential cost or whether they are working. State leaders need better information to avoid unexpected budget challenges, identify effective incentives, and reform or end programs that are not meeting expectations.
The PEW Charitable Trust
Business Incentives
Incentives are a powerful policy lever to help attract or retain businesses. Incentives can take the form of financial assistance, business services, or tax incentives. The key question to answer with any of these tools is the extent to which public benefits compare to the public investment costs.
W.E. Upjohn Institute

Tyler Mulligan

Other Resources


Ashley Brown
Kate Dydak
Heather Hunt
Bill Lester
Mark Little * project lead
Nichola Lowe * project lead
Sid Subramanian

In collaboration with the Department of City and Regional Development