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Suburbanization, Demographic Change and the Consequences for School Finance

In: Fiscal Federalism

Author

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  • David N. Figlio
  • Deborah Fletcher

Abstract

The existing literature on the relationship between the share of elderly in a community and the support for local public education has led to mixed results to date. One potential reason behind this is that the share of elderly in a community is endogenous, and it is very difficult to disentangle the effects of individuals aging in place from that of dynamic Tiebout sorting. The point of this paper is to carefully document the degree to which aging in place has occurred in the American suburbs, and to estimate the degree to which it has influenced school finance once the initial settlers of these suburbs were no longer the parents of school-aged children. We hand-match data from the 1950 and 1960 Censuses of Population and Housing to more recent data to link postwar suburban development to later school finance. Using a novel method for identifying the causal effects of aging in place, we find that the percentage of elderly adults in a school district is negatively related to the level of support for public schooling, and that this is particularly true for school districts in metropolitan areas where the school-aged population is more heavily nonwhite relative to the elderly population.
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Suggested Citation

  • David N. Figlio & Deborah Fletcher, 2010. "Suburbanization, Demographic Change and the Consequences for School Finance," NBER Chapters, in: Fiscal Federalism, pages 1144-1153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:13341
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sandra E. Black, 1999. "Do Better Schools Matter? Parental Valuation of Elementary Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 114(2), pages 577-599.
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    11. Brunner, Eric & Balsdon, Ed, 2004. "Intergenerational conflict and the political economy of school spending," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 369-388, September.
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    1. Rajashri Chakrabarti & Nicole Gorton & Joydeep Roy, 2018. "Getting ahead by spending more? Local community response to state merit aid programs," Staff Reports 872, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    2. Nyhus, Ole Henning & Strøm, Bjarne, 2023. "School spending and extension of the youth voting franchise: Quasi-experimental evidence from Norway," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 92(C).
    3. Daniel Lichter, 2013. "Integration or Fragmentation? Racial Diversity and the American Future," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(2), pages 359-391, April.
    4. Gallagher, Ryan M., 2021. "Income segregation's impact on local public expenditures: Evidence from municipalities and school districts, 1980–2010," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(C).
    5. John M. Foster & Jacob Fowles, 2018. "Ethnic Heterogeneity, Group Affinity, and State Higher Education Spending," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 59(1), pages 1-28, February.
    6. Eric J. Brunner & Mark D. Robbins & Bill Simonsen, 2021. "Experimental evidence about property tax word aversion," Public Budgeting & Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(4), pages 50-70, December.
    7. Reiling, Rune Borgan, 2016. "Does size matter? Educational attainment and cohort size," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 73-89.
    8. Figlio, David N. & Fletcher, Deborah, 2012. "Suburbanization, demographic change and the consequences for school finance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(11), pages 1144-1153.
    9. Kurban, Haydar & Gallagher, Ryan M. & Persky, Joseph J., 2015. "Demographic changes and education expenditures: A reinterpretation," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 103-108.
    10. Brunner, Eric J. & Ross, Stephen L. & Simonsen, Becky K., 2015. "Homeowners, renters and the political economy of property taxation," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 38-49.
    11. Xiaokuai Shao, 2021. "Matching under school and home bundling," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 28(3), pages 567-611, June.
    12. James S. Schlaffer, 2018. "Financing Public Education Facilities: The Role of Elderly Populations and Geographic Mobility," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 99(1), pages 118-135, March.
    13. Saito, Hitoshi, 2017. "The effects of population ageing on public education in Japan : A reinterpretation using micro data," MPRA Paper 79848, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Laura Tach & Barrett Lee & Michael Martin & Lauren Hannscott, 2019. "Fragmentation or Diversification? Ethnoracial Change and the Social and Economic Heterogeneity of Places," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 56(6), pages 2193-2227, December.
    15. Funk, Patricia & Litschig, Stephan, 2020. "Policy choices in assembly versus representative democracy: Evidence from Swiss communes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 182(C).
    16. Antti Saastamoinen & Mika Kortelainen, 2020. "When Does Money Stick in Education? Evidence from A Kinked Grant Rule," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 15(4), pages 708-735, Fall.
    17. Michah W. Rothbart, 2020. "Does School Finance Reform Reduce the Race Gap in School Funding?," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 15(4), pages 675-707, Fall.
    18. Brunner, Eric J. & Johnson, Erik B., 2016. "Intergenerational conflict and the political economy of higher education funding," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 73-87.
    19. Jones, Daniel B. & Zhan, Crystal, 2020. "Ethnic diversity and citizens’ support for local public good provision: Evidence from California parcel tax elections," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 174(C), pages 108-130.
    20. Miyaki, Miki & Kimura, Masaki, 2018. "Do the Elderly Support Public Educational Expenditure? An Empirical Analysis Focusing on the Characteristics of Spending," MPRA Paper 89225, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination

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