IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/12047.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Causes of Political Integration: An Application to School Districts

Author

Listed:
  • Nora Gordon
  • Brian Knight

Abstract

This paper examines the forces behind political integration through the lens of school district consolidations, which reduced the number of school districts in the United States from around 130,000 in 1930 to under 15,000 at present. Despite this large observed decline, many districts resisted consolidation before ultimately merging and others never merged, choosing to remain at enrollment levels that nearly any education cost function would deem inefficiently small. Why do some districts voluntarily integrate while others remain small, and how do those districts that do merge choose with which of their neighbors to do so? In addressing these questions, we empirically examine the role of potential economies and diseconomies of scale, heterogeneity between merger partners, and the role of state governments. We first develop a simulation-based estimator that is rooted in the economics of matching and thus accounts for three important features of typical merger protocol: two-sided decision making, multiple potential partners, and spatial interdependence. We then apply this methodology to a wave of school district mergers in the state of Iowa during the 1990s. Our results highlight the importance of economies of scale, diseconomies of scale, state financial incentives for consolidation, and a variety of heterogeneity measures.

Suggested Citation

  • Nora Gordon & Brian Knight, 2006. "The Causes of Political Integration: An Application to School Districts," NBER Working Papers 12047, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12047 Note: ED PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w12047.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Chung, Kim-Sau, 2000. "On the Existence of Stable Roommate Matchings," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 206-230, November.
    2. Enrico Spolaore & Alberto Alesina & Romain Wacziarg, 2000. "Economic Integration and Political Disintegration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1276-1296, December.
    3. McFadden, Daniel, 1989. "A Method of Simulated Moments for Estimation of Discrete Response Models without Numerical Integration," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(5), pages 995-1026, September.
    4. Patrick Bolton & Gérard Roland, 1997. "The Breakup of Nations: A Political Economy Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1057-1090.
    5. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "Political economics and macroeconomic policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 22, pages 1397-1482 Elsevier.
    6. Alvaro Rodrigues-Neto, Jose, 2007. "Representing roommates' preferences with symmetric utilities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 135(1), pages 545-550, July.
    7. Filer, John E & Kenny, Lawrence W, 1980. "Voter Reaction to City-County Consolidation Referenda," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 179-190, April.
    8. Roth, Alvin E. & Sotomayor, Marilda, 1992. "Two-sided matching," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications,in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 16, pages 485-541 Elsevier.
    9. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-846, July-Aug..
    10. David M. Brasington, 2003. "Snobbery, Racism, or Mutual Distaste: What Promotes and Hinders Cooperation in Local Public-Good Provision?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 874-883, November.
    11. David M. Brasington, 2003. "Size and School District Consolidation: Do Opposites Attract?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(280), pages 673-690, November.
    12. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & Caroline Hoxby, 2004. "Political Jurisdictions in Heterogeneous Communities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 348-396, April.
    13. Brasington, David M., 1999. "Joint provision of public goods: the consolidation of school districts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 373-393, September.
    14. Andrews, Matthew & Duncombe, William & Yinger, John, 2002. "Revisiting economies of size in American education: are we any closer to a consensus?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 245-262, June.
    15. Poirier, Dale J., 1980. "Partial observability in bivariate probit models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 209-217, February.
    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. Jeremy T. Fox, 2010. "Identification in matching games," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 1(2), pages 203-254, November.
    2. Brooks, Leah, 2007. "Unveiling Hidden Districts: Assessing the Adoption Patterns of Business Improvement Districts in California," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 60(1), pages 5-24, March.
    3. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 2013. "Fiscal Decentralization in Peru: A Perspective on Recent Developments and Future Challenges," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1324, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    4. Jeremy T. Fox, 2008. "Estimating Matching Games with Transfers," NBER Working Papers 14382, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    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:nbr:nberwo:12047. 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: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.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.