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Sharing the blame? Local electoral accountability and centralized school finance in California

  • Marcelin Joanis


    (Université de Sherbrooke)

While electoral accountability should be stronger when responsibilities are clearly assigned to one political office, the involvement of higher tiers of government is often associated with policies specifically designed to improve local accountability. This paper investigates the impact of centralization on local electoral accountability in the context of California’s school finance system. Results show that voters are responsive to differences in dropout rates and pupil-teacher ratios, and that incumbents are less likely to be reelected when a district’s degree of centralization is high. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 appears to have sharpened local electoral accountability.

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Paper provided by Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB) in its series Working Papers with number 2009/33.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ieb:wpaper:2009/10/doc2009-33
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  1. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:116:y:2001:i:4:p:1189-1231 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Rainald Borck, 2008. "Central versus local education finance: a political economy approach," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 338-352, June.
  3. George M. Holmes, . "Does school choice increase school quality?," Working Papers 0106, East Carolina University, Department of Economics.
  4. Caroline M. Hoxby, 1998. "All School Finance Equalizations Are Not Created Equal," NBER Working Papers 6792, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Marcelin Joanis, 2008. "Intertwined Federalism: Accountability Problems under Partial Decentralization," Cahiers de recherche 08-22, Departement d'Economique de la Faculte d'administration à l'Universite de Sherbrooke.
  6. Eric J. Brunner & Jon Sonstelie, 2006. "California's School Finance Reform: An Experiment in Fiscal Federalism," Working papers 2006-09, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  7. Eric A. Hanushek & Margaret E. Raymond, 2005. "Does school accountability lead to improved student performance?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(2), pages 297-327.
  8. Card, David & Payne, A. Abigail, 2002. "School finance reform, the distribution of school spending, and the distribution of student test scores," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 49-82, January.
  9. Justine S. Hastings & Jeffrey M. Weinstein, 2007. "No Child Left Behind: Estimating the Impact on Choices and Student Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 13009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Thomas J. Nechyba, 2001. "Centralization, Fiscal Federalism and Private School Attendance," NBER Working Papers 8355, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Hoxby, Caroline M., 1999. "The productivity of schools and other local public goods producers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 1-30, October.
  12. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:124:y:2009:i:1:p:399-422 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Derek Neal & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2007. "Left Behind By Design: Proficiency Counts and Test-Based Accountability," NBER Working Papers 13293, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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