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If You Build It, Will They Come?: Fiscal Federalism, Local Provision of Public Tourist Amenities, and the Vision Iowa Fund


  • Quackenbush, Austin
  • Premkumar, Deepak
  • Artz, Georgeanne M.
  • Orazem, Peter


The philosophy of fiscal federalism presumes that local communities will under- or over-provide public amenities in the presence of externalities. We test this hypothesis using data from Vision Iowa, a state program which provided partial funding to communities to build tourist attractions. We find a 1% increase in investment increased county taxable retail sales 0.9%. The State's return, from program-induced sales tax revenue, averaged 9.2% annually. Local communities' returns averaged 0.9% and we find a significant increase in surrounding areas' sales. This suggests that without state subsidies, communities would undersupply public amenities aimed at attracting visitors.

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  • Quackenbush, Austin & Premkumar, Deepak & Artz, Georgeanne M. & Orazem, Peter, 2011. "If You Build It, Will They Come?: Fiscal Federalism, Local Provision of Public Tourist Amenities, and the Vision Iowa Fund," Staff General Research Papers Archive 34375, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:34375

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    More about this item


    fiscal federalism; local public goods; subsidy; externality; spillover; amenity; retail sales;

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations

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