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Do People Vote with Their Feet? An Empirical Test of Tiebout

Author

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  • H. Spencer Banzhaf
  • Randall P. Walsh

Abstract

Charles Tiebout's suggestion that people "vote with their feet" for communities with optimal bundles of taxes and public goods has played a central role in local public finance for over 50 years. Using a locational equilibrium model, we derive formal tests of his premise. The model predicts increased population density in neighborhoods experiencing exogenous improvements in public goods and, for large improvements, increased relative mean incomes. We test these hypotheses in the context of changing air quality. Our results provide strong empirical support for the notion that households "vote with their feet" for environmental quality.

Suggested Citation

  • H. Spencer Banzhaf & Randall P. Walsh, 2008. "Do People Vote with Their Feet? An Empirical Test of Tiebout," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 843-863, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:98:y:2008:i:3:p:843-63
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.3.843
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling

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    1. Do People Vote with Their Feet? An Empirical Test of Tiebout (AER 2008) in ReplicationWiki
    2. Economic Logic blog

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