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Measuring disparities in non-school costs and revenue capacity among Massachusetts cities and towns


  • Katharine L. Bradbury
  • Bo Zhao


This paper develops new measures of environmental costs and local revenue capacity as the basis for a new municipal aid formula in Massachusetts. On the cost side, unlike previous studies, we quantify the effects on local non-school spending of characteristics related to uncontrollable costs. On the capacity side, we account for the constraints of a tax limitation, for the first time in the literature, by estimating these constraints as a function of residents’ incomes. The estimates of costs and capacity indicate substantial inter-local fiscal disparities in Massachusetts. Our approach is potentially applicable to other states. ; Also issued as New England Public Policy Center Working Paper 06-3

Suggested Citation

  • Katharine L. Bradbury & Bo Zhao, 2007. "Measuring disparities in non-school costs and revenue capacity among Massachusetts cities and towns," Working Papers 06-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:06-19

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Katharine L. Bradbury & Karl E. Case & Chirstopher J. Mayer, 1998. "School quality and Massachusetts enrollment shifts in the context of tax limitations," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Jul, pages 3-20.
    2. Katharine L. Bradbury, 1991. "Can local governments give citizens what they want? Referendum outcomes in Massachusetts," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue May, pages 3-22.
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    Cited by:

    1. James Alm & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 2009. "South Africa’s Provincial Equitable Share: An Assessment of Issues and Proposals for Reform," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0904, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    2. Bo Zhao & Katharine L. Bradbury, 2008. "Designing state aid formulas: the case of a new formula for distributing municipal aid in Massachusetts," Working Papers 08-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.


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