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Is Local Public Sector Rent Extraction Higher in Progressive Cities or High Amenity Cities?

Listed author(s):
  • Matthew E. Kahn

Public finance theories of the median voter’s preferences and local public sector rent extraction posit that liberal cities and high amenity cities will feature a larger, better paid local public sector. Compensating differentials theory predicts that real wages will be lower in beautiful states and localities. Using both Federal and California city level administrative micro data, I study public sector compensation across space. At the Federal level, California workers are only paid 9% more than observationally identical workers in Alabama. Given the high California home prices, such workers are paying for the California amenities. Within California, beach cities hire more workers but pay them less in real terms. Liberal cities both pay public sector workers more and employ more of them. Liberal cities have much larger per-capita pension liabilities.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 23201.

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Date of creation: Feb 2017
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23201
Note: EEE LS PE POL
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  1. Gyourko, Joseph & Tracy, Joseph, 1991. "The Structure of Local Public Finance and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 774-806, August.
  2. Alesina, Alberto & Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William, 2000. "Redistributive Public Employment," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 219-241, September.
  3. Albert Saiz, 2010. "The Geographic Determinants of Housing Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1253-1296.
  4. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2001. "Group Loyalty and the Taste for Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 500-528, June.
  5. Hwang, Hae-shin & Reed, W Robert & Hubbard, Carlton, 1992. "Compensating Wage Differentials and Unobserved Productivity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 835-858, August.
  6. Gyourko, Joseph & Tracy, Joseph, 1988. "An Analysis of Public- and Private-Sector Wages Allowing for Endogenous Choices of Both Government and Union Status," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(2), pages 229-253, April.
  7. Blomquist, Glenn C & Berger, Mark C & Hoehn, John P, 1988. "New Estimates of Quality of Life in Urban Areas," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 89-107, March.
  8. Kahn, Matthew E. & Vaughn, Ryan & Zasloff, Jonathan, 2010. "The housing market effects of discrete land use regulations: Evidence from the California coastal boundary zone," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 269-279, December.
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