University of Arkansas

UALR College of Business


The Use and Misuse of Economic Impact Studies

Friday, September 12, 2014 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

The Institute for Economic Advancement in the College of Business - Room 450
Donald W. Reynolds Center for Business and Economic Development
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Little Rock, Arkansas 72204
Directions: The building is on the corner of 28th St. and University Ave., about two miles south of I-630. Parking is available in Lot 13, which is on the other side of 28th St., directly opposite the Reynolds Center for Business.'

$45 per person. Lunch is included in the registration fee
Click here to register online

Registration closes on September 5, 2014. In order to obtain an accurate count for lunch, we are unable to provide day of registration for the conference. For more information call 569-8530, and ask for either Dr. Gregory Hamilton or Melody Muldrow.

Luncheon Speaker:
Dr. Bruce Seaman
Associate Professor in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University

Conference Details:

Many public and private agencies, advocacy groups, and businesses want to know their economic impacts on their communities.  They commission an impact study enabling consultants to diligently quantify and estimate the economic impacts, write reports, and present their findings.  Some report’s findings are legitimate, but others have findings that appear to be dubiously high.  At times it appears as if the primary purpose of these questionable studies is to demonstrate a significant contribution thereby justifying the success of the activity.  

What accounts for the differences between what is considered a legitimate study from those that have biases in their estimates?  Are there a common set of assumptions and procedures that cause economic impact analysis to have such biases?  What are some of the possible consequences of producing biased economic impact studies?

We will review the components of a legitimate economic impact study and then focus on the implicit assumptions and procedures that cause bias impact estimates.  Dr. Bruce Seaman will provide insights into uses and misuses of economic impact studies.  The conference will close with an open forum.  Conference attendees will gain insights into how to identify legitimate economic impact studies from those that are not and the reasons for the dubious impact results.  

Speaker Bio

Dr. Bruce Seaman is an Associate Professor in the Andrew  Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. He is a former staff economist and consultant for the Federal Trade Commission, and serves as a consultant in private antitrust, business contractual dispute, and civil tort cases. His research includes models of arts industry funding, price discrimination (including legal implications), private and public school choice, cost-benefit analysis and economic impact methodologies, international trade in cultural goods, local tax incidence and exportability, and the effects of illegal behaviors. His articles have appeared in such journals as American Economic Review, Journal of Socioeconomics, Public Finance Quarterly, Journal of Behavioral Economics, Utah Law Review, and Journal of Cultural Economics.

Gregory L. Hamilton Ph.D. Senior Research Economist
Melody Muldrow M.S., Assistant Research Economist
Dennis Robinson, Ph.D., Senior Research Economist
Michael Pakko, Ph.D. Senior Research Economist