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The Local Response to Tax Limitation Measures: Do Local Governments Manipulate Voters to Increase Revenues?

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Author Info

  • Figlio, David N
  • O'Sullivan, Arthur

Abstract

This paper provides evidence that some cities subject to a statewide tax limit manipulate their mix of productive and administrative services in an attempt to get voters to override the statewide limit. When a statewide limit reduces a city's budget, one manipulative response is to cut "service" inputs (for example, teachers or uniformed police officers) by a relatively large amount, while cutting administrative inputs by a relatively small amount. This approach reveals a relatively large trade-off between public and private goods, and the severe consequences from a tax limit may encourage local voters to override the statewide limit. We provide evidence that cities with local-override options tend to adopt this approach. Manipulation is most prevalent among cities run by city managers (as opposed to strong mayors). Copyright 2001 by the University of Chicago.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Law & Economics.

Volume (Year): 44 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 233-57

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:44:y:2001:i:1:p:233-57

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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/

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Cited by:
  1. Jan Schnellenbach, 2004. "The Evolution of a Fiscal Constitution When Individuals are Theoretically Uncertain," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 97-115, January.
  2. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2001. "The Effects of Fiscal Institutions on Public Finance: A Survey of the Empirical Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 617, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Phuong Nguyen-Hoang, 2012. "Fiscal effects of budget referendums: evidence from New York school districts," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(1), pages 77-95, January.
  4. Fischer, Justina A.V., 2007. "The Impact of Direct Democracy on Public Education: Evidence for Swiss Students in Reading, Mathematics and Natural Science," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 688, Stockholm School of Economics.
  5. Justina A.V. Fischer, 2005. "Do Institutions of Direct Democracy Tame the Leviathan? Swiss Evidence on the Structure of Expenditure for Public Education," CESifo Working Paper Series 1628, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Epple, Dennis & Figlio, David & Romano, Richard, 2004. "Competition between private and public schools: testing stratification and pricing predictions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1215-1245, July.
  7. Christian Bjørnskov & Axel Dreher & Justina A. V. Fischer, 2005. "The bigger the better? Evidence of the effect of government size on life satisfaction around the world," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 05/44, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  8. Thomas A. Downes, 2002. "Do state governments matter?: a review of the evidence on the impact on educational outcomes of the changing role of the states in the financing of public education," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 47(Jun), pages 143-180.
  9. Ron Cheung, 2005. "The Effect of Property Tax Limitations on Residential Private Governments," Working Papers wp2005_05_01, Department of Economics, Florida State University.

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