Explaining the appearance and success of open space referenda
Many communities in the United States have begun enacting policies to preserve open space, often through local voter referenda. New Jersey sponsors such municipal action through the Green Acres Program by providing funding and low interest loans to towns that choose to increase property taxes and spend the money raised on open space preservation for the purposes of conservation and/or recreation. This paper endeavors to understand which factors contribute to the appearance and success of these measures. Although previous literature has examined this issue, this is the first study to account for spatial dependence/spatial autocorrelation and to explore dynamic issues through survival analysis. The traditional two stage model from the literature is extended by incorporating a Bayesian spatial probit for the first stage and a maximum-likelihood spatial error model in the second stage. A Cox-proportional hazard model is used to examine the timing of referenda appearance. Spatial dependence is found in the second stage of the analysis, indicating that future studies should account for its influence. There is no strong evidence for spatial dependence or correlation in the first stage. The survival model is found to be a useful complement to the traditional probit analysis of the first stage.
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