Is There an Equity-Efficiency Trade-Off in School Finance? Tiebout and a Theory of the Local Public Goods Producer
New empirical work shows the degree of competition among public providers of local public goods or between public and private providers of local public goods matters. This evidence needs a theory of the local public goods producer. Tiebout's hypothesis spawned a literature that gives local public economics a useful theory of the consumer which can generate a theory of the local public goods producer. This potential has remained largely undeveloped apart from Tiebout's vision of the local public goods producer as an entrepreneur, which is unrealistic because local public goods are nonverifiable. The Tiebout mechanism does not operate in alternative models of the local public goods producer, such as bureaucracy and agenda models. None of these models is useful for predicting how local public goods producers react to policies that change the structure of local public finance. This paper builds a theory of the producer that draws upon Tiebout's mechanism and the theory of incentives for regulation. I find that Tiebout's mechanism generates information that can be used in regulatory schemes to achieve lower costs for any given provision of local public goods. Thus, we face a fundamental trade-off between promoting equitable consumption of the public good and promoting efficiency in production of the public good. This trade-off exists even when equity in consumption generates positive externalities, as is often suggested of the consumption of schooling. I present evidence that when the Tiebout mechanism for schools is weakened by state-level school funding, per-pupil costs rise and the growth of educational attainment falls. This implies that losses from inefficient production generally outweigh gains from equalized consumption.
|Date of creation:||Sep 1995|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Journal of Public Economics (1999).|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000.
"Does Competition among Public Schools Benefit Students and Taxpayers?,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1209-1238, December.
- Caroline Minter Hoxby, 1994. "Does Competition Among Public Schools Benefit Students and Taxpayers?," NBER Working Papers 4979, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E, 1998. "Competition between Private and Public Schools, Vouchers, and Peer-Group Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 33-62, March.
- 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.
- Roland Benabou, 1991.
"Workings of a City: Location, Education, and Production,"
NBER Technical Working Papers
0113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Benabou, Roland, 1993. "Workings of a City: Location, Education, and Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 619-52, August.
- Borland, Melvin V. & Howsen, Roy M, 1992. "Student academic achievement and the degree of market concentration in education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 31-39, March.
- Peltzman, Sam, 1996.
"Political Economy of Public Education: Non-College-Bound Students,"
Journal of Law and Economics,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(1), pages 73-120, April.
- Sam Peltzman, 1994. "Political Economy of Public Education: Non-college-bound Students," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 108, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
- Epple, Dennis & Zelenitz, Allan, 1981. "The Implications of Competition among Jurisdictions: Does Tiebout Need Politics?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1197-1217, December.
- Fernandez, Raquel & Rogerson, Richard, 1995.
"On the Political Economy of Education Subsidies,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 249-62, April.
- Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
- Eberts, Randall W. & Gronberg, Timothy J., 1981. "Jurisdictional homogeneity and the Tiebout hypothesis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 227-239, September.
- Epple, Dennis & Filimon, Radu & Romer, Thomas, 1984. "Equilibrium among local jurisdictions: toward an integrated treatment of voting and residential choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 281-308, August.
- Thomas Romer & Howard Rosenthal, 1978. "Political resource allocation, controlled agendas, and the status quo," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 27-43, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5265. 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: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.