Jensen’s research involves the public policy and the study of companies’ investment decisions. His main areas of research include: how state and local government economic development policies affect companies and how political events abroad affect the investments of companies. The first of these areas focuses largely on government “incentive” programs to attract investment, which his work argues are largely inefficient and motivated by political considerations. He is also involved in projects centered on making social science more transparent and credible. Jensen has worked with the World Bank on their World Investment and Political Risk Report as well as with the Missouri Partnership in a survey of investors.
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Finds that after the onset of Phase 3 of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention (ABC) in 2010, when the risk of noncompliance increased for firms subject to the OECD-ABC, those multinational corporations reduced their actual bribery relative to their nonsignatory competitors.
Analyzes two different state economic development incentive programs using the same methods and time-period allowing for direct comparability.
Finds that a major economic development program in Kansas had no impact on job creation.
Surveys American voters on their views towards the use of incentives and finds that incentives (tax credits given to firms) are an effective way for politicians to take credit for investment in their district, and to deflect blame for not attracting investment.
Employs a field experiment to query U.S. cities on their willingness to offer tax incentives to firms.
Discusses, in one of a series of projects, how politics can affect the risk environment for firms investing abroad.
Reviews the researchers’ pilot study of accepting journal articles without themselves or peer reviewers seeing the actual results of the studies to gauge the transparency of academic research.
Finds that directly elected government officials offered more tax incentives to firms and had weaker oversight of these programs, which fits with this team’s previous work on the electoral benefits of using tax incentives to attract firms.