Theses Master's

Luring Investment through Higher Taxes: Evaluating the Impact of New York City Business Improvement Districts on Property Development

Agudelo, Myles

Business improvement districts (BID) are a widely used tool intended to address quality of life concerns and promote economic development. While BIDs have been shown to provide a variety of positive impacts to their districts, it is less clear whether these impacts translate into increased levels of commercial property development within the district. There is also a question of whether any observed increases in development is a result of existing economic resources that have been shifted from surrounding districts. This thesis attempts to quantify the impact of New York City’s BIDs on commercial property development both within BIDs and their surrounding neighborhoods.

To evaluate a BIDs role as an economic development tool, this thesis uses a difference-in-differences approach to compare the number of construction permits both in and around three Manhattan BIDs before and after the BIDs were established. Results show that BIDs do not play a significant role in increasing levels of commercial property development within their districts and neighborhoods surrounding BIDs do not experience a decline in commercial property development after a nearby BID is established. These results call into question a BIDs role as a major economic development tool especially as the number of BIDs in New York City continues to grow.


  • thumnail for AgudeloMyles_GSAPPUP_2021_Thesis.pdf AgudeloMyles_GSAPPUP_2021_Thesis.pdf application/pdf 1.17 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
O'Neill-Hutson, Moira K.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
July 12, 2021