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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce
OIE Background

Performance Measurement and Program Evaluation

Overview

Highlights

  • Between FY 2012 and FY 2016, EDA invested nearly $1.4 billion in 3,244 projects to help communities and regions build the capacity for economic development. Of the total, 615 projects totaling $786.2 million are expected to create and/or retain 226,393 jobs and attract nearly $29 billion in private investment, according to recipient estimates (Additional Information (PDF) and Underlying Data (XLSX))
  • According to the results of the econometric study that explored the impact of economic development non-infrastructure grant programs on regional economic capacities, and the relationship between those capacities and long-term realized outcomes such as job creation and earnings growth, SRI International found that:
    • EDA non-infrastructure capacity building grants are critical to [fostering of an] economic development collaboration system that leads to long-term desired economic development outcomes.
    • EDA non-infrastructure grants support building of capacities that are associated with long-term growth in earnings, per capita income, and employment growth.
  • Read the full SRI International Report! (PDF)
  • EDA Success Stories
  • EDA Annual Reports

Research Reports and Tools

Regional Data Sources:

Select EDA’s Program-Specific Performance and Evaluation Reports:

EDA collects and reports on performance measures in compliance with Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 that, as amended by the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010, establishes requirements for all agencies to collect, analyze and report on their performance.

EDA’s performance goals and specific performance metrics are tied to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s performance management structure. The performance data are analyzed for economic and program trends and used to enhance EDA’s program performance. The data are reported via departmental publications and reviewed by key stakeholders, such as the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and Congress. EDA’s performance targets are tied to its annual budget request and appropriations. DOC and relevant stakeholders consider EDA’s performance results when EDA submits its annual budget request. EDA’s Annual Performance Plan (APP) identifies anticipated outcomes based on the investment of appropriated funds by program and by performance measure.

EDA’s performance data are divided into two primary goals:

EDA Performance Goal 1: Infrastructure investments that promote private enterprise and job creation in economically distressed communities and regions.

  • Metric: Private sector dollars invested in economically distressed regions as a result of EDA’s investments.
  • Metric: Jobs created or retained in economically distressed regions as a result of EDA’s investments.

EDA Performance Goal 2: Non-infrastructure investments that build community capacity to achieve and sustain regional competitiveness and economic growth.

  • Metric: Percentage of Districts Organizations and Indian Tribes implementing economic development initiatives from the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) process that lead to private investment and job creation and retention.
  • Metric: Percentage of sub-state jurisdiction members actively participating in the Economic Development District (EDD) activities.
  • Metric: Percentage of University Center (UC) clients taking action as a result of the assistance facilitated by the UC.
  • Metric: Percentage of those actions taken by UC clients that achieved the expected results.
  • Metric: Percentage of Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (TAAC) clients taking action as a result of the assistance facilitated by the TAAC.
  • Metric: Percentage of those actions taken by TAAC clients that achieved the expected results.

EDA is currently developing innovative metrics to measure the impact of its non-infrastructure investments from programs that include Regional Innovation Strategies, Local Technical Assistance, Partnership Planning, and Research and National Technical Assistance, on local and regional economic development capacity.

Find out more information. (PDF)

KEY Definitions*

As employed and understood in EDA’s Performance Measurement and Program Evaluation Methods

Economic Development: creates the conditions for economic growth and improved quality of life by expanding the capacity of individuals, firms, and communities to maximize the use of their talents and skills to support innovation, lower transaction costs, and responsibly produce and trade valuable goods and services.

Economic Development Capacity Building: developing or improving community assets that businesses need to succeed.

Economic Resilience: in the context of economic development, economic resilience becomes inclusive of three primary attributes: the ability to recover quickly from a shock, the ability to withstand a shock, and the ability to avoid the shock altogether.  Establishing economic resilience in a local or regional economy requires the ability to anticipate risk, evaluate how that risk can impact key economic assets, and build a responsive capacity.  Often, the shocks/disruptions to the economic base of an area or region are manifested in three ways:

  • Downturns or other significant events in the national or international economy which impact demand for locally produced goods and consumer spending;
  • Downturns in particular industries that constitute a critical component of the region’s economic activity; and/or
  • Other external shocks (a natural or man-made disaster, closure of a military base, exit of a major employer, the impacts of climate change, etc.).

For more information, please visit: https://www.eda.gov/ceds/content/economic-resilience.htm

Performance Measurement: the ongoing monitoring and reporting of program accomplishments, particularly progress toward pre-established goals. It is typically conducted by program or agency management. Performance measures may address the type or level of program activities conducted (process), the direct products and services delivered by a program (outputs), or the results of those products and services (outcomes). A “program” may be any activity, project, function, or policy that has an identifiable purpose or set of objectives. 1

Program Evaluation: entails individual systematic studies conducted periodically or on an ad hoc basis to assess how well a program is working. They are often conducted by experts external to the program, either inside or outside the agency, as well as by program managers. A program evaluation typically examines achievement of program objectives in the context of other aspects of program performance or in the context in which it occurs. Four main types can be identified (process evaluation, outcome evaluation, impact evaluation, and cost-benefit and cost effectiveness evaluation), all of which use measures of program performance, along with other information, to learn the benefits of a program or how to improve it. 2

Jobs: EDA defines jobs as “those created or retained by employers located at or near the project site or by firms that benefit directly from services provided by the EDA-funded facility in order to locate, expand or operate in the project area.”

EDA grantees report on direct or directly-related jobs, including subsequent employers that locate or expand in the project area as a result of the project. For some projects (e.g., roads, water and sewer lines), direct jobs may include those created by firms that were not originally anticipated as part of the project but required the facility or service provided by the EDA project in order to locate or expand in the area.

Only permanent and direct jobs are counted in EDA reporting. Temporary jobs, including those related to construction, are not included. EDA grantees are instructed to convert part-time jobs into full-time equivalents (e.g., the total part-time hours worked per week divided by the hourly work week for full-time employees, normally 35-40 hours).

    Jobs Created:  Private sector jobs created by businesses and other project beneficiaries as a result of the EDA project.

    Jobs Retained: Private sector jobs retained as a result of the EDA project.

Private Investment Leveraged: the total dollar amount of private sector investment made because of the EDA grant, including new plant and equipment. Private sector contributions to project construction or loan fund capitalization is not considered private investment leveraged.

Indicator: a quantitative or qualitative variable that is used to represent an associated (but non-measured or non-measurable) phenomena. For example, consumer price index (CPI) is often used as an indicator to assess the general cost of living at a certain point in time.

A more specific example of an indicator from a programmatic performance measurement standpoint, on the other hand, would be firm creation as an indicator of program’s conduciveness to economic dynamism in a region.

Metric: provides context to an indicator by drawing a comparison, such as change over time or a comparison against a benchmark or baseline. An increase of 0.5% in CPI in September 2017 is an example of a metric used for quantitative assessment of economic conditions.

An example of a programmatic metric would be a number of additional firms (e.g., start-ups) that formed as a result of services (e.g., access to state-of-the-art equipment or facilities) funded by a grant.

Innovation: EDA defines innovation as the creation of new products, services or processes, or the recombination of existing products, services or processes in new ways that add value. Importantly, innovation can occur in any sector, and within all aspects of the economic development ecosystem.

Regional Clusters: are geographic concentrations of firms, workers and industries that do business with each other and have common needs for talent, technology, and infrastructure. Regional clusters are essentially networks of similar, synergistic, or complementary entities that are engaged in or with a particular industry sector; have active channels for business transactions and communication; share specialized infrastructure, labor markets, and services; and leverage the region’s unique competitive strengths to stimulate innovation and create jobs. Regional clusters may cross municipal, county, and other jurisdictional boundaries.

Regionalism: a series of coordinated economic development activities related to a comprehensive economic development strategy for a given geographic region.”  A region is a multi-jurisdictional unit (which may cross political boundaries) based on economic and demographic patterns that cross municipal and state boundaries.

Technology Readiness Level Framework: a nine‐point scale tool used to measure the progress of a particular technology from basic science to operational application (whether in a commercial, military, or science setting).


2. ibid.