IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fip/fedgfe/1997-47.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Restraining the Leviathan: property tax limitations in Massachusetts

Author

Listed:
  • David M. Cutler
  • Douglas W. Elmendorf
  • Richard Zeckhauser

Abstract

We examine the effects of Proposition 2-1/2--a property tax limitation law approved by Massachusetts voters in 1980--and assess voter satisfaction with these effects. We find that the proposition had a smaller effect on local revenues and spending than expected, as a result of both amendments to the law and a strong economy. Voters in 1980 believed there was significant waste in local government, partly because of an inability to monitor local officials. Proposition 2-1/2 curbed these agency losses, but direct local override votes and municipal expenditure patterns imply that the proposition initially reduced spending more than voters wanted.

Suggested Citation

  • David M. Cutler & Douglas W. Elmendorf & Richard Zeckhauser, 1997. "Restraining the Leviathan: property tax limitations in Massachusetts," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1997-47, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:1997-47
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/1997/199747/199747abs.html
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/1997/199747/199747pap.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:88:y:1994:i:04:p:811-828_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Poterba, James M, 1994. "State Responses to Fiscal Crises: The Effects of Budgetary Institutions and Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 799-821, August.
    3. James M. Poterba, 1997. "Demographic structure and the political economy of public education," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(1), pages 48-66.
    4. Poterba, James M., 1995. "Capital budgets, borrowing rules, and state capital spending," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 165-187, February.
    5. O'Sullivan,Arthur & Sexton,Terri A. & Sheffrin,Steven M., 2007. "Property Taxes and Tax Revolts," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521035996.
    6. Bogart, William T., 1991. "Observable Heterogeneity and the Demand for Local Public Spending," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 44(2), pages 213-23, June.
    7. Downes, Thomas A., 1992. "Evaluating the Impact of School Finance Reform on the Provision of Public Education: The California Case," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 45(4), pages 405-419, December.
    8. Olmsted, George M. & Denzau, Arthur T. & Roberts, Judith A., 1993. "We voted for this? : Institutions and educational spending," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 363-376, October.
    9. Inman, Robert P., 1989. "The local decision to tax : Evidence from large U.S. Cities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 455-491, August.
    10. Cutler, David M. & Elmendorf, Douglas W. & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1999. "Restraining the Leviathan: property tax limitation in Massachusetts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 313-334, March.
    11. Cutler, David M & Elmendorf, Douglas W & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1993. "Demographic Characteristics and the Public Bundle," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 48(Supplemen), pages 178-198.
    12. Downes, Thomas A., 1992. "Evaluating the Impact of School Finance Reform on the Provision of Public Education: The California Case," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 45(4), pages 405-19, December.
    13. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416-416.
    14. Poterba, James M, 1996. "Budget Institutions and Fiscal Policy in the U.S. States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 395-400, May.
    15. Preston, Anne E. & Ichniowski, Casey, 1991. "A National Perspective on the Nature and Effects of the Local Property Tax Revolt, 1976-1986," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 44(2), pages 123-145, June.
    16. Bogart, William T., 1991. "Observable Heterogeneity and the Demand for Local Public Spending," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 44(2), pages 213-223, June.
    17. Ronald J. Shadbegian, 1996. "Do Tax And Expenditure Limitations Affect The Size And Growth Of State Government?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(1), pages 22-35, January.
    18. Rubinfeld, Daniel L, 1977. "Voting in a Local School Election: A Micro Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 59(1), pages 30-42, February.
    19. Case, Anne C. & Rosen, Harvey S. & Hines, James Jr., 1993. "Budget spillovers and fiscal policy interdependence : Evidence from the states," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 285-307, October.
    20. Rothstein, Paul, 1994. "Learning the preferences of governments and voters from proposed spending and aggregated votes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 361-389, July.
    21. James M. Poterba, 1996. "Do Budget Rules Work?," NBER Working Papers 5550, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Romer, Thomas & Rosenthal, Howard & Munley, Vincent G., 1992. "Economic incentives and political institutions: Spending and voting in school budget referenda," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 1-33, October.
    23. Matsusaka, John G, 1995. "Fiscal Effects of the Voter Initiative: Evidence from the Last 30 Years," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 587-623, June.
    24. 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.
    25. Lang, Kevin & Jian, Tianlun, 2004. "Property taxes and property values: evidence from Proposition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 439-457, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Stephen Coate, 2014. "Optimal Fiscal Limits," NBER Working Papers 20643, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Michael D. Makowsky & Thomas Stratmann, 2011. "More Tickets, Fewer Accidents: How Cash-Strapped Towns Make for Safer Roads," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(4), pages 863-888.
    3. repec:eee:regeco:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:46-56 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Jeffrey Zabel, 2014. "Unintended Consequences: The Impact of Proposition 2½ Overrides on School Segregation in Massachusetts," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 9(4), pages 481-514, October.
    5. Gebhard Kirchgassner, 2002. "The effects of fiscal institutions on public finance: a survey of the empirical evidence," Chapters,in: Political Economy and Public Finance, chapter 9 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Bradbury, Katharine L. & Mayer, Christopher J. & Case, Karl E., 2001. "Property tax limits, local fiscal behavior, and property values: evidence from Massachusetts under Proposition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 287-311, May.
    7. 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.
    8. Cheung, Ron & Cunningham, Chris, 2011. "Who supports portable assessment caps: The role of lock-in, mobility and tax share," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 173-186, May.
    9. Lang, Kevin & Jian, Tianlun, 2004. "Property taxes and property values: evidence from Proposition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 439-457, May.
    10. Vigdor, Jacob L, 2004. "Other People's Taxes: Nonresident Voters and Statewide Limitation of Local Government," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(2), pages 453-476, October.
    11. Cutler, David M. & Elmendorf, Douglas W. & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1999. "Restraining the Leviathan: property tax limitation in Massachusetts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 313-334, March.
    12. William Stine, 2005. "Do budget maximizing public officials increase the probability of property reassessment?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(20), pages 2395-2405.
    13. Makowsky, Michael & Sanders, Shane, 2013. "Political costs and fiscal benefits: The political economy of residential property value assessment under Proposition 212," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 120(3), pages 359-363.
    14. Hawley, Zackary & Rork, Jonathan C., 2015. "Competition and property tax limit overrides: Revisiting Massachusetts' Proposition 2½," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 93-107.
    15. Alm, James & Buschman, Robert D. & Sjoquist, David L., 2014. "Foreclosures and local government revenues from the property tax: The case of Georgia school districts," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 1-11.
    16. Douglas D. Roscoe, 2014. "Yes, Raise My Taxes: Property Tax Cap Override Elections," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 95(1), pages 145-164, March.
    17. Wallin, Bruce & Zabel, Jeffrey, 2011. "Property tax limitations and local fiscal conditions: The impact of Proposition 2½ in Massachusetts," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 382-393, July.
    18. Figlio, David N & O'Sullivan, Arthur, 2001. "The Local Response to Tax Limitation Measures: Do Local Governments Manipulate Voters to Increase Revenues?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(1), pages 233-257, April.
    19. Alm, James & Buschman, Robert D. & Sjoquist, David L., 2011. "Rethinking local government reliance on the property tax," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 320-331, July.
    20. Thomas A. Downes, 2002. "Do state governments matter?: a review of the evidence on the impact on educational outcomes of the changing role of the states in the financing of public education," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 47(Jun), pages 143-180.
    21. McGuire, Therese J., 1999. "Proposition 13 and Its Offspring: For Good or for Evil?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 1), pages 129-38, March.
    22. Steven Deller & Judith I. Stallmann & Lindsay Amiel, 2012. "The Impact of State and Local Tax and Expenditure Limitations on State Economic Growth," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1), pages 56-84, March.
    23. Nada Wasi & Michelle J. White, 2005. "Property Tax Limitations and Mobility: The Lock-in Effect of California's Proposition 13," NBER Working Papers 11108, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Property tax ; Massachusetts;

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:1997-47. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Franz Osorio). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/frbgvus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.