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Efficiency of Public Goods Provision in Space

  • Travis Warziniack


    (University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics)

This article incorporates a political decision process into an urban land use model to predict the likely location of a public good. It fills an important gap in the literature by modeling the endogenous location of open space. The article compares open space decisions made under a majority-rules voting scheme with welfare-improving criterion and finds households tied to a location in space compete against each other for public goods located nearer them. Significant differences emerge between the two decision criteria, indicating that requiring referenda for open space decisions is likely to lead to inefficient outcomes. Specifically, many open space votes are likely to fail that would lead to welfare improvements, and any open space decisions that do pass will require amenities larger than needed to achieve the social optimum. The more dispersed and large the population, the larger is the gap between the socially efficient level and the level needed for a public referendum to pass.

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Paper provided by University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0483.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:awi:wpaper:0483
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  1. Kotchen, Matthew J. & Powers, Shawn M., 2006. "Explaining the appearance and success of voter referenda for open-space conservation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 373-390, July.
  2. Calabrese, Stephen & Epple, Dennis & Romer, Thomas & Sieg, Holger, 2006. "Local public good provision: Voting, peer effects, and mobility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 959-981, August.
  3. Anderson, Soren T. & West, Sarah E., 2006. "Open space, residential property values, and spatial context," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 773-789, November.
  4. Peter A. Groothuis & Bruce K. Johnson & John C. Whitehead, 2004. "Public Funding of Professional Sports Stadiums: Public Choice or Civic Pride?," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 515-526, Fall.
  5. Rabin, Matthew, 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt731230f8, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  6. Heidi J. Albers & Amy W. Ando, 2003. "Could State-Level Variation in the Number of Land Trusts Make Economic Sense?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 79(3), pages 311-327.
  7. Jean-Fran├žois Laslier & Karine Straeten, 2008. "A live experiment on approval voting," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 97-105, March.
  8. Walsh, Randy, 2007. "Endogenous open space amenities in a locational equilibrium," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 319-344, March.
  9. Holger Sieg & V. Kerry Smith & H. Spencer Banzhaf & Randy Walsh, 2004. "Estimating The General Equilibrium Benefits Of Large Changes In Spatially Delineated Public Goods," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(4), pages 1047-1077, November.
  10. Epple, Dennis & Romer, Thomas, 1991. "Mobility and Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 828-58, August.
  11. John Ledyard & Thomas Palfrey, 2003. "The Approximation of Efficient Public Good Mechanisms by Simple Voting Schemes," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000103, David K. Levine.
  12. Bucholtz, Shawn & Geoghegan, Jacqueline & Lynch, Lori, 2003. "Capitalization of Open Spaces into Housing Values and the Residential Property Tax Revenue Impacts of Agricultural Easement Programs," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 32(1), April.
  13. Wu, JunJie, 2006. "Environmental amenities, urban sprawl, and community characteristics," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 527-547, September.
  14. Vossler, Christian A. & Kerkvliet, Joe & Polasky, Stephen & Gainutdinova, Olesya, 2003. "Externally validating contingent valuation: an open-space survey and referendum in Corvallis, Oregon," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 261-277, June.
  15. Elena G. Irwin & Nancy E. Bockstael, 2001. "The Problem of Identifying Land Use Spillovers: Measuring the Effects of Open Space on Residential Property Values," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(3), pages 698-704.
  16. Elena G. Irwin, 2002. "The Effects of Open Space on Residential Property Values," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 78(4), pages 465-480.
  17. BK. Johnson & JC. Whitehead, 2000. "Value of public goods from sports stadiums: the CVM approach," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(1), pages 48-58, 01.
  18. Epple, Dennis & Platt, Glenn J., 1998. "Equilibrium and Local Redistribution in an Urban Economy when Households Differ in both Preferences and Incomes," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 23-51, January.
  19. Wu, JunJie & Plantinga, Andrew J., 2003. "The influence of public open space on urban spatial structure," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 288-309, September.
  20. Smith, V. Kerry & Poulos, Christine & Kim, Hyun, 2002. "Treating open space as an urban amenity," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 107-129, February.
  21. Epple, Dennis & Filimon, Radu & Romer, Thomas, 1984. "Equilibrium among local jurisdictions: toward an integrated treatment of voting and residential choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 281-308, August.
  22. Nelson, Erik & Uwasu, Michinori & Polasky, Stephen, 2007. "Voting on open space: What explains the appearance and support of municipal-level open space conservation referenda in the United States?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3-4), pages 580-593, May.
  23. Thomas J. Nechyba & Randall P. Walsh, 2004. "Urban Sprawl," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(4), pages 177-200, Fall.
  24. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
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