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Litigation, School Finance Reform, And Aggregate Educational Spending

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  • Steven M. Sheffrin
  • Robert L. Manwaring

    (Department of Economics, University of California Davis)

Abstract

The United States has traditionally financed elementary and secondary education through property taxation. In the past two decades, litigation in many states has triggered educational reform movements designed to reduce the inequalities in educational expenditures across districts inherent in a property tax financed system. While these movements have been successful in reducing inequalities, there are some who argue that this movement has had adverse affects on the level of educational spending. If, indeed, this is the case, then there would be trade-offs between reductions in inequality and the level of investment in education. In this paper, we use a panel data set across all the states from 1970-1990 to examine the role of litigation and educational finance reform in determining the level of education funding in a flexible, dynamic setting. This allows us to analyze the determinants of educational spending and to assess the differential impacts of litigation and reform movements across states. The dynamics are driven by four effects - an income effect, a state control effect, a state budget effect, and a base effect. An important finding of our work is that litigation and reform have differential effects across the states, in some cases leading to increases while in other cases decreases in spending. We supplement our empirical research with a closer examination of several case studies.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of California, Davis, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 965.

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Date of creation: 04 Feb 2003
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Handle: RePEc:cda:wpaper:96-5

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References

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  1. Rothstein, Paul, 1992. "The demand for education with 'power equalizing' aid : Estimation and simulation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 135-162, November.
  2. Manwaring, R.L. & Sheffrin, S.M., 1994. "The Effects of Education Equalization Litigation on the Levels of Funding: An Empirical Analysis," Papers 94-14, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
  3. Silva, Fabio & Sonstelie, Jon, 1995. "Did Serrano Cause a Decline in School Spending," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(2), pages 199-215, June.
  4. Fischel, William A., 1989. "Did Serrano Cause Proposition 13?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 42(4), pages 465-73, December.
  5. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
  6. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-77, September.
  7. Fernandez, Raquel & Rogerson, Richard, 1998. "Public Education and Income Distribution: A Dynamic Quantitative Evaluation of Education-Finance Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 813-33, September.
  8. Fernández, Raquel & Rogerson, Richard, 1999. "Education finance reform and investment in human capital: lessons from California," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 327-350, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Fernández, Raquel, 2001. "Sorting, Education and Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 3020, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Douglas Noonan, 2007. "Fiscal pressures, institutional context, and constituents: a dynamic model of states’ arts agency appropriations," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 31(4), pages 293-310, December.
  3. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2001. "All School Finance Equalizations Are Not Created Equal," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1189-1231, November.
  4. Fernández, Raquel & Rogerson, Richard, 1999. "Education finance reform and investment in human capital: lessons from California," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 327-350, December.
  5. Eric J. Brunner & Jon Sonstelie, 2006. "California's School Finance Reform: An Experiment in Fiscal Federalism," Working papers 2006-09, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  6. Ahlin, Åsa & Mörk, Eva, 2008. "Effects of decentralization on school resources," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 276-284, June.
  7. Mörk, Eva & Ahlin, Åsa, 2007. "Effects of decentralization on school resources: Sweden 1989-2002," Working Paper Series 2007:9, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  8. Raquel Fernandez & Richard Rogerson, 2003. "Equity and Resources: An Analysis of Education Finance Systems," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(4), pages 858-897, August.
  9. Stephen J. Schmidt & Karen Scott, 2004. "Reforming Reforms: Incentive Effects in Education Finance in Vermont," Rensselaer Working Papers in Economics 0425, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Economics.
  10. Blankenau, William & Skidmore, Mark, 2002. "The Relationship Between Education Finance Reform and Tax and Expenditure Limitations," Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, vol. 32(1).
  11. Thomas Downes, 2003. "School Finance Reform and School Quality: Lessons from Vermont," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0309, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  12. 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.
  13. James Alm & Robert D. Buschman & David L. Sjoquist, 2012. "Citizen "Trust" as an Explanation of State Education Funding to Local School Districts," Working Papers 1208, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  14. Loeb, Susanna, 2001. "Estimating the effects of school finance reform: a framework for a federalist system," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 225-247, May.
  15. Raquel Fernandez, 2001. "Sorting, Education and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 8101, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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