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ABSTRACT This paper examines how offering tax incentives in a local area affects the entry of new business establishments. We use the federal Empowerment Zone (EZ) program as a natural experiment to test this relationship. Using instrumental variables estimation, we find that the EZ wage tax credit is responsible for attracting about 2.2 new establishments per 1,000 existing establishments, or a total of 20 new establishments in EZ areas. New establishment growth is strongest in the retail (about 40 new establishments) and service (about five new establishments) sectors, and offset by declines or slower growth in other industries.