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School district spending and state aid: why disparities persist


  • Katharine L. Bradbury


Most decisions about the level of local public school spending are made by local school districts. Their choices are conditioned by local resources and the availability of external funds, mostly from state governments. A major purpose of this substantial state aid is to further the goal of equal educational opportunity by helping to make spending more equal in rich and poor districts. ; This article investigates the link between school spending disparities and state school aid by using data on school finances and community attributes to model the determinants of per-pupil operating spending by Massachusetts and Rhode Island school districts. These estimated relationships are used to quantify the impact of recent and newly enacted aid programs on educational expenditures in Massachusetts communities, focusing on their likely effect on spending disparities.

Suggested Citation

  • Katharine L. Bradbury, 1994. "School district spending and state aid: why disparities persist," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Jan, pages 50-68.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbne:y:1994:i:jan:p:50-68

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Helms, L Jay, 1985. "The Effect of State and Local Taxes on Economic Growth: A Time Series-Cross Section Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(4), pages 574-582, November.
    2. Charney, Alberta H., 1983. "Intraurban manufacturing location decisions and local tax differentials," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 184-205, September.
    3. Timothy J. Bartik, 1991. "Who Benefits from State and Local Economic Development Policies?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number wbsle, November.
    4. Karl E. Case & Leah Cook, 1989. "The distributional effects of housing price booms: winners and losers in Boston, 1980-88," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue May, pages 3-12.
    5. Grubb, W. Norton, 1982. "The flight to the suburbs of population and employment, 1960-1970," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 348-367, May.
    6. Albert M. Church, 1981. "The Effects of Local Government Expenditure and Property Taxes on Investment," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 9(2), pages 165-180.
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    1. 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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    Education ; State finance;


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