Thomas Boston

Professor Emeritus

Member Of:
  • School of International Affairs
Office Location: Habersham 150
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Thomas “Danny” Boston is a Professor of Economics and International Affairs in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech. He received the MA and Ph.D. degrees in Economics from Cornell University, where he specialized in economic development and macroeconomics. His appointment at Georgia Tech began in 1985 in the School of Economics. In 2013, he moved his appointment to the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs. His current research areas are Performance Evaluation (focusing on quantitative assessments of public policies, programs, and projects), and entrepreneurship (focusing on minority and diverse groups and small businesses). He is the author or editor of six books and numerous scholarly articles and reports, past President of the National Economic Association, and former editor of The Review of Black Political Economy. He served as Senior Economist to the Joint Economic Committee of Congress and primary researcher and data analyst to the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Danny is a regular economics contributor to CNN and Al Jazeera America, and he frequently testifies before Congressional Committees on federal policies affecting business programs for minority and small companies and public housing programss. Prolific in sponsored research and grantsmanship, he has secured numerous awards from leading foundations, government agencies, public policy organizations, and nonprofit institutions. Through an award from the MacArthur Foundation, he conducted a landmark multicity longitudinal examination of all public housing recipients in Atlanta, Chicago, and New Haven. Current Research Grants:

1. Benefit Cost Analysis of TIA, (Transportation Investment Act), Phase III, Agency/Company: Georgia Department of Transportation, Total Dollar Amount: $185,000, Fall 2018 – Spring 2020

2.  Research and Support to Implement Recommendations of the GDOT Small Business Program Evaluation, Agency/Company: Georgia Department of Transportation, Total Dollar Amount: $180,000, August 2017 – December 2018

3. GDOT Local Beneficiary Analysis of TIA (Transportation Investment Act) Project Expenditures: Phase II, Agency/Company: Georgia Department of Transportation, Total Dollar Amount: $178,748,  July 2016  – April 2018

Danny's research on business dynamics led to improvements in federal procurement policies for minority contractors. Internationally, Dr. Boston provided capacity training to the Nigerian National Assembly of Nigeria and South Africa Free State Legislature on monitoring and evaluating Millennium Development Goals. He was commissioned to create DADD (Database on African Democratic Development) for the African Union. Most recently, he worked with the National Democratic Institute to deliver capacity training on workforce development programs aimed at youth unemployment in six Southern African countries. His honors and awards include Georgia Tech’s “Professor of the Year Award”, the “Ivan Allen College Legacy Award” and the Purple Heart for service as an Army officer and ranger platoon leader during the Viet Nam conflict.  Danny is also a successful entrepreneur, founder, and CEO of EuQuant (an economic research company). In 2012, the company was designated by the Atlanta Tribune as the #2 among black-owned enterprises in the State of Georgia, for its innovation, commitment to community and financial capacity. The Atlanta Business League selected Danny as the "2016 Entrepreneur of the Year" see:


Research Fields:
  • Development Economics
  • Economics of the Firm
  • Globalization: Political Economy and Governance
  • Africa (Sub-Saharan)
  • United States
  • Inequality and Social Justice
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Entrepreneurship


  • ECON-4450: Afric-Amer Entrepreneur
  • INTA-3303: Pol Economy-Development
  • INTA-4740: Sem-Political Economy

All Publications


Journal Articles


  • Public Housing Demolition and Neighborhood Revitalization
  • The role of black-owned businesses in black community development
    Date: December 2006
    Over the last three decades, central cities have been burdened by high rates of unemployment, significant population losses, and concentrated poverty. The economic expansion of the 1990s moderated this burden to some extent, reducing by 24 percent (to 2.5 million) the number of people living in neighborhoods where the poverty rate was 40 percent or more (Jargowsky 2003). Still, by the turn of the new millennium 67 cities had poverty rates of 20 percent or higher (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 2000). Central-city unemployment and poverty are concentrated heavily in the low-income Black inner-city communities. These neighborhoods have been abandoned by businesses once located in and around the central business district and have been largely sidestepped by investors, who have favored developing businesses in more suburban locations. The lack of jobs within these neighborhoods combined with the dispersal of cities away from the urban core has created an employment barrier in the form of a spatial mismatch. (See Chapters 4 and 5.) The most extreme manifestations of economic distress and neglect are found in the large, densely populated public housing projects within central cities. A recent study of a distressed public housing project found that in 1995 only 18 percent of household heads 16 to 62 years of age were employed, 49 percent depended upon welfare as their primary source of income, 98 percent of households were Black, and 87 percent were headed by single women (Boston 2005a). The presence of these projects has an adverse impact on the surrounding communities, leading to the development of what is known as "underclass" neighborhoods (Wilson 1996). These communities lack many of the attributes and capacities that typically are necessary for economic development. In addition to economic capital, these neighborhoods also lack social capital. Civic organizations and social, religious, and political groups are usually too weak to protect the quality of schools, demand infrastructure improvements, and regulate zoning patterns for commercial and residential development. The poor housing conditions of these communities are compounded by extreme social and human circumstances. Most residents live in constant fear of gunfire, drug traffickers, and other crime. Communities like these, as well as other low-income Black neighborhoods, desperately need economic development. But there remains a good deal of debate about the most appropriate strategy (Ferguson and Dickens 1999; Boston and Ross 1997). Participants in these debates usually argue over whether the development principles are sufficiently holistic and about the role the public and private sectors should play in redevelopment. The debates also include issues such as affordable housing, gentrification, and the relative merits of mixed-income development. An issue rarely considered, however, is the role that Black-owned businesses can play in the revitalization of Black communities.1 Black-owned businesses are often dismissed because they are only a small part of the whole economy. In 1997, these firms comprised only 4 percent of all firms and generated 0.4 percent of all sales.2 Even among a more restrictive universe of minority-owned businesses, Black-owned businesses comprised only 27 percent of firms and generated 12 percent of sales. The aggregate statistics, however, obscure some important characteristics of Black-owned businesses, which are described in detail later in this chapter. First, Black business owners have an affinity for the residents of distressed Black communities and are committed to community development. Second, Black-owned businesses are becoming increasingly important as generators of jobs for Black workers. This has resulted from the rapid growth of these businesses and their tendency to employ Black workers. Third, a significant portion of the workforce in Black-owned firms is drawn from low-income inner-city neighborhoods; indeed, some of the most successful Black businesses are located in low-income neighborhoods. Fourth, the quality of the average job for Black workers in Black-owned businesses is superior to that for Black workers in firms owned by Whites. Finally, revitalization offers numerous opportunities to promote the growth of Black-owned businesses. Ignoring the potential contributions of Black-owned business, therefore, would be an unfortunate oversight. In the remaining sections of this chapter, I explore these themes in more detail and also draw upon the results of a case study of low-income neighborhood revitalization in Atlanta. The chapter draws on national data and information and data and information for the Atlanta region. The next section documents the employment-generating capacity of Black-owned businesses. While Blacks are substantially underrepresented among business owners, they are nonetheless a sizeable and growing source of employment for Blacks. The middle section of the chapter examines the role of these businesses in low-income Black neighborhoods. The evidence shows that Black owners want to help these neighborhoods and contribute to the employment base in these communities. Given Black-owned businesses' potential and willingness, it is good policy to incorporate Black-owned business in efforts to revitalize the most distressed neighborhoods, those with public housing projects. The final section presents a case study of how this can be done by examining an effort in Atlanta through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (hud's) hope vi program. The chapter concludes with some recommendations about the role of Black-owned businesses in Black community development. © 2006 by Temple University Press. All rights reserved.

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  • The Conceptualization and Implementation of Affirmative Action in the United States, India and Brazil
  • Minority Business Trends. In America Becoming: Racial Trends and their Consequence.
  • A Common Destiny- How does it Compare to the Classic Studies of Black Life in America

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