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Political costs and fiscal benefits: The political economy of residential property value assessment under Proposition 212

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  • Makowsky, Michael
  • Sanders, Shane

Abstract

We use a 15-year panel of property value assessment data from 351 Massachusetts municipalities. Appraised values grow more slowly in municipalities with elected assessors. When municipalities pass, via referenda, large increases in the cap on tax revenues, value assessments grow faster under appointed assessors and slower under elected assessors. Appraisals grow slower when alternative revenue sources are available.

Suggested Citation

  • Makowsky, Michael & Sanders, Shane, 2013. "Political costs and fiscal benefits: The political economy of residential property value assessment under Proposition 212," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 120(3), pages 359-363.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:120:y:2013:i:3:p:359-363
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2013.05.010
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cutler, David M. & Elmendorf, Douglas W. & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1999. "Restraining the Leviathan: property tax limitation in Massachusetts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 313-334, March.
    2. Justin M. Ross, 2011. "Assessor Incentives and Property Assessment," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 776-794, January.
    3. Eric Helland & Alexander Tabarrok, 2002. "The Effect of Electoral Institutions on Tort Awards," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(2), pages 341-370.
    4. Bowman, John H. & Mikesell, John L., 1989. "Elected Versus Appointed Assessors and the Achievement of Assessment Uniformity," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 42(2), pages 181-189, June.
    5. Michael D. Makowsky & Thomas Stratmann, 2009. "Political Economy at Any Speed: What Determines Traffic Citations?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 509-527, March.
    6. Cornia, Gary C. & Walters, Lawrence C., 2006. "Full Disclosure: Controlling Property Tax Increases During Periods of Increasing Housing Values," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 59(3), pages 735-749, September.
    7. Justin M. Ross, 2012. "Interjurisdictional Determinants of Property Assessment Regressivity," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 88(1), pages 28-42.
    8. Bowman, John H. & Mikesell, John L., 1989. "Elected Versus Appointed Assessors and the Achievement of Assessment Uniformity," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 42(2), pages 181-89, June.
    9. Thomas A. Garrett & Gary A. Wagner, 2009. "Red Ink in the Rearview Mirror: Local Fiscal Conditions and the Issuance of Traffic Tickets," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(1), pages 71-90, February.
    10. Brueckner, Jan K. & Saavedra, Luz A., 2001. "Do Local Governments Engage in Strategic Property-Tax Competition?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 54(2), pages 203-230, June.
    11. Byron F. Lutz, 2008. "The connection between house price appreciation and property tax revenues," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2008-48, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    12. Lutz, Byron F., 2008. "The Connection Between House Price Appreciation and Property Tax Revenues," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 61(3), pages 555-572, September.
    13. Bradbury, Katharine L. & Mayer, Christopher J. & Case, Karl E., 2001. "Property tax limits, local fiscal behavior, and property values: evidence from Massachusetts under Proposition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 287-311, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Makowsky & Thomas Stratmann, 2014. "Politics, unemployment, and the enforcement of immigration law," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 160(1), pages 131-153, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Property taxes; Property appraisal; Elected versus appointed; Tax referenda;

    JEL classification:

    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General

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