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Sluggishness, Endogeneity and the Demand for Local Public Services

  • Dahlberg, M.
  • Jacob, J.

Earlier studies estimating the demand for local public services by means of the median voter model have typically assumed exogenous regressors and static set-ups. Furthermore, the commonly used log-linear specification of the demand function has in most cases not been supported by a well-defined maximisation problem. In this paper, we investigate whether it is important to control for endogeneity and dynamics in empirical work. Using a panel of 266 Swedish municipalities over the period 1981-1987, our test results show that the regressors are endogenous and that the adjustment process is potentially sluggish. We get significantly lower price- and income elasticities when we control for endogeneity and dynamics. In addition, when we control for endogeneity and dynamics, we can no longer reject the hypothesis that observed behaviour can be rationalised by a Cobb-Douglas utility function. This implies that the log-linear specification of the demand function is valid as long as appropriate econometric techniques are used.

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Paper provided by Uppsala - Working Paper Series in its series Papers with number 2000:17.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:uppaal:2000:17
Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
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  1. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Whitney K. Newey & Harvey S. Rosen, 1987. "The Revenues-Expenditures Nexus: Evidence from Local Government Data," NBER Working Papers 2180, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Rosen, Harvey S, 1991. "Municipal Labor Demand in the Presence of Uncertainty: An Econometric Approach," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(3), pages 276-93, July.
  3. Borge, Lars-Erik & Rattso, Jorn & Sorensen, Rune, 1995. " Local Government Service Production: The Politics of Allocative Sluggishness," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 82(1-2), pages 135-57, January.
  4. Robert Inman, 1978. "Testing political economy’s ‘as if’ proposition: is the median income voter really decisive?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 45-65, December.
  5. Becker, Elizabeth, 1996. " The Illusion of Fiscal Illusion: Unsticking the Flypaper Effect," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 86(1-2), pages 85-102, January.
  6. Dahlberg, Matz & Johansson, Eva, 1997. "An Examination of the Dynamic Behavior of Local Governments Using GMM Bootstrapping Methods," Working Paper Series 1997:11, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  7. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  8. Pommerehne, Werner W., 1978. "Institutional approaches to public expenditure : Empirical evidence from Swiss municipalities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 255-280, April.
  9. Bailey, Stephen J & Connolly, Stephen, 1998. " The Flypaper Effect: Identifying Areas for Further Research," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 95(3-4), pages 335-61, June.
  10. Rubinfeld, Daniel L., 1987. "The economics of the local public sector," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 11, pages 571-645 Elsevier.
  11. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-26, November.
  12. Borge, Lars-Erik & Rattso, Jorn, 1995. "Demographic shift, relative costs and the allocation of local public consumption in Norway," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 705-726, December.
  13. Muhammed N. Islam & Saud A. Choudhury, 1990. "Testing the Exogeneity of Grants to Local Governments," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 23(3), pages 676-92, August.
  14. Bergstrom, Theodore C & Goodman, Robert P, 1973. "Private Demands for Public Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 280-96, June.
  15. Aronsson, Thomas & Wikstrom, Magnus, 1996. "Local public expenditure in Sweden a model where the median voter is not necessarily decisive," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(9), pages 1705-1716, December.
  16. Matz Dahlberg & Eva Johansson, 1998. "The revenues-expenditures nexus: panel data evidence from Swedish municipalities," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(10), pages 1379-1386.
  17. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Newey, Whitney & Rosen, Harvey S, 1988. "Estimating Vector Autoregressions with Panel Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(6), pages 1371-95, November.
  18. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
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