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cover image for Econ Focus 1Q 2019

July 15, 2019

Richmond Fed’s Econ Focus Looks at Opportunity Zones

Opportunity zones,” which were created by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, are intended to draw long-term investment to distressed areas. Investors who put money into properties or businesses within the zones receive major tax advantages, and more than 800 of the zones have been designated in the Richmond Fed’s district. Many policymakers and community leaders are excited about their potential, but others are worried about unintended consequences. The latest issue of the Richmond Fed’s Econ Focus magazine looks at the promise and pitfalls of this new financing model.

Also in this issue:

  • Initial coin offerings. In recent years, firms have raised billions of dollars in capital by selling digital tokens or coins. These initial coin offerings, or ICOs, may have some advantages over traditional corporate fundraising, but they also raise new questions for regulators.
  • Monetary policy spillovers. The Fed has a mandate to meet domestic economic goals of maximum employment and stable prices. But changes in U.S. monetary policy can have spillover effects on other countries, too. As financial markets become increasingly global, should concerns about monetary policy spillovers shape the Fed’s actions?
  • Rural hospital closings. Hospitals in rural areas across the country, especially in more distressed rural areas, are closing at an increasing rate. What challenges do rural hospitals face that are different from those of hospitals elsewhere? And what do the closures mean for access to health care, economic activity and upward mobility in the affected communities?
  • Interview. Enrico Moretti of the University of California, Berkeley discusses why rich cities are becoming richer, the role of universities and cultural amenities in a region’s development, the effects of Amazon’s HQ2 decision and why Americans are relocating less.
  • More. Coverage of other economic issues affecting the Fifth Federal Reserve District and the nation.

For a free subscription to Econ Focus, the economics magazine of the Richmond Fed, or for copies, call (800) 322-0565 or subscribe online. The articles also are available online.


As part of our nation’s central bank, the Richmond Fed is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks working together with the Board of Governors to support a healthy economy and deliver on our mission to foster economic stability and strength. We connect with community and business leaders across the Fifth Federal Reserve District — including the Carolinas, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and most of West Virginia — to monitor economic conditions, address issues facing our communities, and share this information with monetary and financial policymakers. We also work with banks to ensure they are operating safely and soundly, supply financial institutions with currency that’s fit for distribution, and provide a safe and efficient way to transfer funds through our nation’s payments system.

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