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Centralization of school finance in Michigan

  • Paul N. Courant

    (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan)

  • Susanna Loeb

    (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan)

School finance reform in Michigan involved centralization (at the state level) of spending decisions about schools, a large tax shift (mostly from property to sales), and a small tax cut. The changes came about after two decades of failed attempts to reduce property taxes in the state, and were the immediate result of an unlikely piece of legislation that abolished all funding for public schools. Unlike most centralized systems, foundation grants in Michigan differ by district. Distributionally, the reforms favor residents of small, rural districts (whose spending was increased sharply). Residents of poorer urban areas, including Detroit, lost net income as a result of the reforms, as did residents of some of the richest suburbs in the state. Michigan permits a number of districts to supplement their foundation grants by limited amounts, a strategy that we argue may be a promising way of combining the efficiency benefits of local control with the equity benefits of foundation grant systems.

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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Volume (Year): 16 (1997)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 114-136

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:16:y:1997:i:1:p:114-136
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home

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  1. 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.
  2. Rubinfeld, Daniel L & Shapiro, Perry & Roberts, Judith, 1987. "Tiebout Bias and the Demand for Local Public Schooling," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(3), pages 426-37, August.
  3. Courant, Paul N & Rubinfeld, Daniel L, 1987. "Tax Reform: Implications for the State-Local Public Sector," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 87-100, Summer.
  4. Gramlich, Edward M & Rubinfeld, Daniel L, 1982. "Micro Estimates of Public Spending Demand Functions and Tests of the Tiebout and Median-Voter Hypotheses," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(3), pages 536-60, June.
  5. Romer, Thomas & Rosenthal, Howard, 1979. "The elusive median voter," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 143-170, October.
  6. Downes, Thomas A. & Pogue, Thomas F., 1994. "Adjusting School Aid Formulas for the Higher Cost of Educating Disadvantaged Students," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(1), pages 89-110, March.
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