Challenge Competitions in Economic Development: A Discussion of NYC Policy Under the Bloomberg and De Blasio Administrations

Robertson, Euan

This paper explores the use of challenge competitions as tools for economic development. More specifically, the paper examines the use of such models to foster the growth of the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem in New York City from the period 2008-2019.

It does not seek to evaluate empirically the effectiveness of these approaches, but instead is intended to offer municipal policymakers and other stakeholders a frame of reference for considering if, when and how to deploy one particular tool in the economic development toolbox.

The scope of the analysis covers the key policy drivers for the use of competition models commencing in the Bloomberg Administration, their design, the adoption and evolution of such models in the de Blasio Administration, and the co-opting of the model by a major corporate entity, Amazon, in their recent ‘HQ2’ bid process.

Geographic Areas


  • thumnail for Robertson_25222_SIPAWorkingPaperSeries.pdf Robertson_25222_SIPAWorkingPaperSeries.pdf application/pdf 572 KB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Entrepreneurship & Policy Initiative
Entrepreneurship & Policy Initiative, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
Entrepreneurship & Policy Initiative Working Paper Series
Published Here
January 14, 2020