Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Political Science

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Kenneth P. Thomas, Ph.D.


Andrew Glassberg

Lana Stein

Todd Swanstrom


Economic development is in the interests of all governments as a component of society that impacts its citizenry’s well-being, yet in a democratic, capitalistic society, many aspects of the economy rely on the activities of private enterprise. Governments are often motivated to develop policies that allow them to “partner” with private enterprise in order to persuade their behavior on behalf of its citizenry. Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is one of the tools that states have enacted to assist local governments partner with private investors. The statute that enabled TIF use in the state of Missouri is now 30 years old. This study looks at the development of this statute over 27 years of its existence, and documents changes in the statute over this time in the context of political actors and court decisions. In particular, this statute is commonly assumed to have been targeted for use in urban, distressed areas experiencing blight and in need of attracting redevelopment opportunities. In reconstructing the narrative of the development of the statute over this period, a particular aspect examined is whether the “erosion of targeting” occurred to widen the benefit to all users through political or court activity. Additionally, 2009 data collected by the state is analyzed using regression analysis and other summary statistics to look at which type of Missouri municipalities use TIF and when they began using it. The study confirmed that TIF was intended to assist urban areas experiencing economic decline compete for economic projects. It also observed that during the time period studied, political actors contended with each other, one side to contain TIF use to its original intended purpose and the other side to keep the “evolved” use of TIF. Additionally, the regression supported other studies that size of municipality was a highly significant variable of TIF usage. It also indicates that % person in poverty is a significant variable of municipalities in “urbanized clusters.”

OCLC Number