Measuring Behavioral Responses to the Property Tax
This paper focuses on excise effects of the property tax system. The excise effects are, of course, only one element in determining the role that property taxes should play as a revenue source and tell us only part of the story on the tax’s ability to generate revenues, the incidence of the tax and other concerns. In addition to direct excise tax effects, such as on land use and city structure, the tax can indirectly affect choices such as between private and public schools. Some of these effects may be desired, at least in certain circumstances, such as if the property tax limits sprawl or if the property tax improves land use. Others may be undesirable, such as if the property tax creates disincentives to improve property. Generally, we seek to understand the effects of the property tax without asking the question of whether the effects are inefficient distortions, whether they are helping to correct for externalities, or whether the tax serves as a benefit tax.
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