star twitter facebook envelope linkedin instagram youtube alert-red alert home left-quote chevron hamburger minus plus search triangle x

CED Publications & Projects


August 2019

What might the revenue impact on state, county, municipal, and school district budgets have been if Amazon had come to Pittsburgh under the original terms of HQ2 (“winner takes all”)?

To answer this question, we construct some plausible scenarios to illustrate direct revenue yields from one year of operations.

This report is the second in a series, and estimates the yield on corporate income taxes the deal might have produced.

What if Pittsburgh had won HQ2 (Part 1)? Estimating property tax yields from a corporate headquarters building

May 2019

What might the revenue impact on state, county, municipal, and school district budgets have been if Amazon had come to Pittsburgh under the original terms of HQ2 (“winner takes all”)?

To answer this question, we construct some plausible scenarios to illustrate direct revenue yields from one year of operations.

This report is the first in a series, and estimates a range of revenue yields from property related taxes.

Ridesharing in Pennsylvania

July 2017

The UBER Effect: Ridesharing in PA

Using data from the Nonemployer Statistics Program of the US Census, we measure rider related activity and revenues for ridesharing platforms in Pennsylvania for the state and by county.

Presidential Elections in Pennsylvania 1996-2016

April 2017

In the aftermath of the Presidential Election of 2016 we took a look back at presidential elections in Pennsylvania at the county level from 1996-2016. Note: some of these .pdf documents are designed to be printed as 24" X 36" posters.

Small Business Lending in Allegheny County

Completed July 2015

In this four part series we look at trends in common economic indicators, small business loans, and small firms for Allegheny County vs. fifteen other peer central-city county or multi-county areas.

  • Part I sets the stage by comparing trends in employment, unemployment, and bank presence for each urban county area from 2007 to 2013.
  • Part II examines trends in loan and loan values for the same, breaking out smaller vs. larger loans.
  • Part III examines trends in loans by size of recipient firm.
  • Part IV examines trends in the number of businesses, by establishment size and for nonemployer (sole proprietor) firms.
Moving Forward with Clean Tech

Completed December 2014

At the request of the City of Pittsburgh’s Office of Sustainability and Energy Efficiency a team of MSPPM students spent a semester cutting through the conceptual complexity associated with two simple but related questions: how can Pittsburgh be a leader in the clean tech sector, and what can city government do to help?  Advised by Professor Silvia Borzutzky, the team assessed the local clean tech landscape in Pittsburgh and examined strategies employed in other cities to identify how the City can “convene, coordinate, legislate, and invest to achieve clean tech sector growth”. If implemented their recommendations will positively influence the growth trajectory of the local clean tech industry and help transform Pittsburgh into a clean tech hub.

Assessing the Economic and Social Impact of Community Gardening in Allegheny County

Completed May 2012

With Allegheny County Economic Development (ACED) serving as the client, a team of Heinz College students used a mix-method approach to investigate the economic and social impact of community gardening via ACED's Allegheny Grows program. The team conducted a demographic comparison of gardeners and the communities that gardens serve, and developed program logic models and program theories to describe in detail how community gardens can contribute to reducing physical deterioration and achieving community development objectives.  Through the use of hedonic price modeling, the team also discovered evidence that the establishment of community gardens may have a large positive effect on the market value of single unit homes in Allegheny County. Contact the CED for copies of this report.

Recommendations for Implementing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Pittsburgh's Oakland-Uptown-Downtown Transit Corridor

Posted June 2011

By combining the flexibility of buses with the efficiency of rail, BRT has the potential to increase the speed, reliability, and convenience of service and attract more riders to public transit. With the support of project sponsor Port Authority of Allegheny County, the team investigated eight key issues with implementing Bus Rapid Transit in Pittsburgh’s Oakland to Downtown corridor including: options for financing BRT, economic development opportunities along the corridor, stop selection along the corridor, integrating BRT with other transit modes (ex: biking), marketing and branding BRT to choice riders, intelligent transportation system opportunities with BRT, and rider perceptions of current vs. enhanced bus service.


Career Connections for Alumni in Economic Development 

Posted December 2010

This winter Heinz College will host a series of events for alumni working in economic development and related fields. These events will run in the afternoon of Friday February 4th, 2011, the same day as the College's Network Pittsburgh Event.

New Perspectives on a State Severance Tax on Natural Gas Drilling in PA

Posted December 2010

Professor Robert Strauss recently gave talk that examined the case for a severance tax on natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania from a "first principles" policy analysis lens. His comments can be read here.

Working with Professor Strauss, Heinz College student Niyazi Ozpehriz recently completed a detailed benchmark study of the design of severance taxes in the 34 other states that have them, including the tax base, rates, collection requirements, credits and exemptions, and proceeds. A copy of this student research can be found here.

Finally, researchers at Penn State recently completed a benchmark analysis exploring the net impact of the reduction in direct and indirect natural gas industry from implementing a tax vs. the increase in employment via state and local spending. Contact the CED for more information.

Measuring the Economic Impact of Greenspace

Released August 2010

With the support of their project sponsor the URA, a team of Heinz students examined methods for measuring the economic impact of green space. With the help of advisor Christopher Paul of Rand Pittsburgh, students used information on parks, housing characteristics, home sales, and other community level data to build a hedonic pricing model to assess the relationship between sales price and park proximity. Their model points to substantial statistically significant effects for some homes, and suggest that properties within 2,000 feet of a large park exhibit an average “green premium” of up to $40,000, diminishing beyond this range. The students also investigated and assessed the feasibility of using a number of different techniques for assessing other possible types of economic impacts from green space, including savings from storm water management, tourism spending, and health effects.

Fighting Hunger While Positively Impacting the Food System

Released June 2010

A team of Heinz College students propose a low cost method for local farmers’ markets to accept food stamps cards via electronic benefits transfer (EBT). The team’s efforts focused on the seven farmers’ markets managed by the City of Pittsburgh, and their work covered methods for accepting EBT used in other cities, farmer acceptance of methods, card processing options, a spatial analysis of market locations vs. EBT users, and project marketing, evaluation, and funding recommendations.

Fellows in Focus: The Mon Wharf Landing

Published April 2010

In this issue of Fellows in Focus, Riverlife's Executive Director Lisa Schroeder discusses the Mon Wharf Landing project, the latest completed milestone for Three Rivers Park, a vision for an urban-scale riverfront park in the heart of Pittsburgh. A brief history of Pittsburgh's shorelines is provided, and the challenges of riverfront development are discussed. Interested students should contact

Research Archive

Over the years the Center for Economic Development has produced or assisted with numerous publications. The following examples are available to the public, and downloadable free of charge.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh: Assessing System Options and Opportunities

Released November 2009

In the shadow of population decline, an imminent capital decision, and (despite growing library use), a second major cut in state library funding in a decade, the Carnegue Library of Pittsburgh asked the CED to take a comprehensive look at its system of local branches, and examine the pros, cons, and risks of a set of possible mergers, closures, and local moves. Among its many findings, the report found that despite population declines in physically isolated markets, no closure or merger would be painless; but that some moves might be beneficial. Since its release, the issue of reconfiguration became a heated topic, a new source of library funding was established for the CLP, and rightsizing plans have been scaled back.

The FASA Program

Published March 2008

In 2007 Carnegie Mellon University entered into a community partnership with Pittsburgh Public Schools, the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh, and the Marilyn G. Rabb Foundation to develop the FASA program (Fostering Academic and Social Achievement). FASA currently serves 23 sixth grade students from Faison School on site at the Homewood Brushton YMCA, Monday through Friday. Activities include tutoring, arts and recreation, life skills, career awareness, and more. FASA is a comprehensive, intensive, secondary violence prevention program with three goals: to provide a safe and healthy place for kids to go to after school, to increase academic achievement, and to encourage alternatives to verbal and physical violence. FASA was made possible by a demonstration grant to Heinz School’s Center for Economic Development from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health's Youth Empowerment Program. The CED initiated the FASA partnership and designed, manages, and evaluates the program. The project has increased the capacities of each partner to serve our region’s communities moving forward. This brochure has more details about this important community initiative.

Built to Last: Our Legacy and Our Future - Nonprofits and the Regional Economy

Published October 2006

How are the region's nonprofits doing?  In 2006 the Forbes Fund asked the CED to assess the results of the second Allegheny County Nonprofit Benchmark Survey. Presented as part of the Tropman Reports series on the Pittsburgh region's nonprofit sector, this report outlines the historical role of the sector as the region's economic shock absorber, the current state of sector in the context of regional trends, and the challenges and opportunities implied.

Allegheny County Comprehensive Plan

Submitted February 2007

To help with the ongoing development of the Allegheny County Comprehensive Plan, in 2007 the CED assisted McCormick Taylor with an analysis of industrial employment growth, wages, spatial patterns, and specialization in Allegheny County.

Managing the Changing Workforce in Southwestern Pennsylvania

Published May 2006

What are the implications of "Baby Boomer" retirements for Pittsburgh's industrial base? In partnership with the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board and the University of Pittsburgh's Institute of Politics, the CED conducted a first of its kind study on the implications of an aging workforce for a regional economy. Results were presented by invitation of the U.S. Census at the Brookings Institution.This work was funded in part by the Heinz Endowments through the Regional Workforce Collaborative of Southwestern Pennsylvania.                                                                                                        

Economic and Community Impact: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Published April 2006

Who can calculate the value of literacy, or put an accurate price tag on what a library does? In this impact report, the first in a series on Pittsburgh's arts and cultural institutions, the CED was able to validate economic benefits of more than $91 million to the economy of Allegheny County - or $75 for every person in the County.

One of the most significant findings was the library's success in reaching the next generation: 70% of city residents between the ages of 13 and 36 have a Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh card.

"Many would think that our youth's Internet usage and savvy would diminish the role of libraries. However, this study proves that Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has been successful in meeting the changing needs of its card holders by transforming the system into a reliable resource where people can still borrow books, but can also do much, much more, including access the Internet and participate in a variety of community-based activities," said Maxwell King, president, Heinz Endowments.

This research was funded by The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh through generous donations from the ALCOA Foundation and Eden Hall Foundation.

Defining Technology

Published June 2005

In cooperation with the State Science and Technology Institute (SSTI) updated the definition of technology industries to be compatible with NAICS. This presentation to the ACCRA State/Provinces Research and Analysis Roundtable explores the method and rationale for defining technology industries.

Serving the Citizens: Options for Using Public Facilities and Providing Community Services

Published May 2005

This policy brief examines how the city can make better use of public facilities to serve its communities. Pittsburgh Public Schools has begun to close facilities in response to declining enrollment system-wide. There is a greater opportunity to adjust community services more broadly to serve the people and needs of today.

Gateway Communities 2.1

Published May 2005

In this policy brief, Lena Andrews identifies the communities that have attracted the most foreign immigrants and those with the least. Comparing and contrasting these two groups of communities can identify the drivers for attracting more new residents to the city and the region.

Centre Food

Published May 2005

The Hill House Association and a team of Carnegie Mellon students including CED's own Lena Andrews developed this proposal for a non-profit grocery store on Center Avenue. The proposal and design won first prize in the 2005 JPMorgan Chase Community Development Competition. The Hill House will receive $25,000 to seed the implementation of the project from JPMorgan Chase.

Sunbelt/Frostbelt: Public Policies and Market Forces in Metropolitan Development

Published April 2005

Sunbelt/Frostbelt examines the role of government policies and market forces in shaping growth patterns in five metropolitan areas: Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Pittsburgh. It concludes with a look at how these different areas have tried to put in place policy reforms to address their unique growth challenges.

Contributors include a team of researchers from Arizona State University, Peter Dreier (Occidental College), Robert E. Gleeson (Northern Illinois University), Joseph Gyourko (University of Pennsylvania), Pascale Joassart-Marcelli (University of Massachusetts, Boston), Manuel Pastor Jr. (University of California, Santa Cruz), Jerry R. Paytas (Carnegie Mellon University), Joseph Persky and Kimberly Schaffer (University of Illinois at Chicago), Anita A. Summers (University of Pennsylvania), Wim Wiewel (University of Baltimore), and Jennifer Wolch (University of Southern California).

Exploring the Horizontal and Vertical Dimensions of the Governing of Metropolitan Regions

Published November 2004

An article co-authored by CED Director Jerry Paytas, with David K. Hamilton and David Y. Miller is featured in the November issue of Urban Affairs Review. Exploring the Horizontal and Vertical Dimensions of the Governing of Metropolitan Regions focuses on the dynamic relationships at the intersection of state and local governments. Applying a two-dimensional typology of governance in metropolitan regions, the authors argue that governance affects the long-term competitiveness of the metropolis.

The Role of Foundations in Economic Development: A Cross-Regional Analysis

Published August 2004

This report examines the role of the foundation community in economic and commmunity development in six benchmark regions. Foundations are not typically directly engaged in economic development services and programs, but they are a source of emerging importance as a funding and administrative influence in the field. The report also examines the varying ways in which economic development is perceived and implemented in these regions. The report provides an overview of economic development and foundation giving within and across the six benchmark regions of New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, St. Louis and Washington D.C.

Connecting People and Jobs

Published August 2004

This report looks at the patterns of new economic development in Pittsburgh's airport corridor. Development is taking place in outlying suburban areas rather than in the historical urban and business centers as well as far from people most in need of employment. Challenges for workers trying to gain access to new employment centers in the suburbs are borne out in public transportation patterns, housing costs near new development sites, and the enlarged geographic separation between unemployed workers and new commercial development sites.

The Lyceum Group: The Career Literacy Portal Project

Published April 2004

From 2002-2004 the CED worked with a group of researchers convened by the Heinz Endowments on career literacy issues. The Lyceum Group, one of the collaborators, produced this study of regional career literacy/career planning websites. The CED is pleased to make this report available on our website.

Support Your Local Government?

Published April 2004

Presents arguments in favor of local election reform in Southwest Pennsylvania.

Sinking Ships

Published April 2004

Sinking Ships: Municipalities in Fiscal Distress demonstrates that fiscal problems are not unique to Pittsburgh but rather are endemic to the region.

Who is Leaving Pittsburgh?

Published April 2004

Who is Leaving Pittsburgh? addresses the question of youth migration and demonstrates that the 20-29 age group is not the only category losing population.

Origins and Destinations of Pittsburgh Migrants

Published April 2004

Origins and Destinations of Pittsburgh Migranst provides a data chart breaking down the state of birth for those entering and exiting the region.

Universities and the Development of Industry Clusters

Published March 2004

Universities have emerged as central assets in regional economic development efforts around the nation and the globe. This is especially true in regions seeking to start and grow technology-based economies. Despite a widely held notion that universities play a critical role, little is understood about the mechanisms by which they impact the region's economy, and even less about the current status of university efforts. At the same time, the cluster approach is emerging as a dominant economic development strategy in many regions and states. Cluster development recognizes that the connections and interactions between firms and between the public and private sector fuel development and competitiveness -- and these interactions are inherently grounded in regions.

NAICS Technology Definitions

Published February 2004

The CED, in cooperation with the State Science and Technology Institute (SSTI), has published a new technology cluster definition using the NAICS code classifications. Information about our methodology and included industries can be found in this publication.

Tables of technology employment by state can be found at

Supply and Demand in Pittsburgh's Middle Ground

Published February 2004

This report identifies and profiles occupations in the Pittsburgh region that pay above the average annual wage, yet do not require a college degree.

2003 State of the Industry Report 

Published January 2004, available from the Pittsburgh Technology Council

The 2003 State of The Industry Report details the contribution to the regional economy made by the technology industry. The report includes cluster employment trends, research spending, and venture capital investments, among other measures.

The Root of Pittsburgh's Population Drain

Published November 2003

Recent population estimates and migration data show that the Pittsburgh region is losing population. News coverage of the release of the annual estimates have explored why the region is losing people. The most-common speculation is that young people are moving out of the region. This report attempts to quantify the impact of net migration losses in terms of those that moved away, and the children and grandchildren born elsewhere to former residents of the region.

Pittsburgh Gateway Communities

Published November, 2003

Pittsburgh's Gateway Communities is a GIS analysis of foreign migration into the Pittsburgh region. The report identifies city neighborhoods that are serving as home to foreign-born population.

Does Governance Matter? The Dynamics of Metropolitan Governance and Competitiveness

Published September 2003

Metropolitan areas are governed by a patchwork of governmental units that contribute to the dispersion of people and the diffusion of local power. These effects are visible in nearly every metropolitan region whether they are growing or shrinking. The policy debate has focused on questions of efficiency, rather than the developmental impacts of these choices. Analysis must be structured to capture the long-term effects of governance and to avoid falsely attributing short-term economic fluctuations to changes in governance. This research examines the competitiveness of 285 metropolitan areas over nearly thirty years from 1972 to 1997 with Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression. The analysis confirms that governance is a significant influence on metropolitan competitiveness, but the findings do not fully support the traditional arguments regarding governance.

Priced Out - Higher Education in Pennsylvania

Published July 2003

Priced Out analyzes tuition costs in Pennsylvania, and finds the price of higher education to be above the national average.

Destination Pittsburgh

Published June 2003

Concerns about population loss have brought retaining and attracting talent to the forefront as a key policy issue. In 2000, the CED issued a series of reports examining migration trends in the region. These reports found that contrary to popular belief, Pittsburgh was not losing people so much that it was not attracting people. In-migration and out-migration were both extremely low. The difficulty of further reducing out-migration required a focus on in-migration. This report focuses on the in-migration half of the equation.

Workforce of Tomorrow

Published May 2003

How will Southwestern Pennsylvania supply a flexible, skilled workforce to meet increasingly dynamic and diffuse demands?

Community Cluster Guidebook

Published November 2002

The Center has crafted a guidebook to help local areas connect with, and make the most of, regional cluster strategies. The guidebook contains enough information to enable a community to conduct a cluster analysis, or to evaluate and manage the work of a professional consultant. The Center has piloted this approach in two Pittsburgh neighborhoods.

Bio Rising: Venture Firms Rediscover Biotech

Published September 2002

This report examines recent increases in biotechnology venture capital funding.

Plugging the Brain Drain: A Review of Studies and Issues for Attracting and Retaining Talent

Published November 2001  

Scholarships, internships and job matching are some of the strategies used by states to retain their young, educated talent. This report examines the "Brain Drain" problem and strategies to address it.

The State of the Incubation Industry in the Pittsburgh Region

Published December 2000

The Pittsburgh region experienced a boom in incubation activity during 1999-2000. This report profiles the facilities, programs and services, and provides background for regional incubation policy guidelines.

CED Incubator Policy Guidelines

Published November 9, 2000

The CED has prepared a set of guidelines for the support of incubators that can prepate firms for the competitive environment of the new economy.

Entrepreneurial Pittsburgh: Uncovering the New Economy (Executive Summary)

Published June 2000

The Entrepreneurial Pittsburgh project explores the relationship between research universities and the New Economy. Center staff advised students working on this report.

Opportunities for Growing the Environmental Technology Cluster in Pennsylvania

Published January, 1999

As part of the "Technology 21" planning process to promote the Commonwealth's technology economy, the Center performed an analysis of Pennsylvania's environmental technology cluster.

Opportunities for Growing the Information Technology Cluster in Pennsylvania

Published January, 1999

As part of the Technology 21 initiative, the Center also performed an analysis of the information technology cluster.