IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Is There an Equity-Efficiency Trade-Off in School Finance? Tiebout and a Theory of the Local Public Goods Producer

  • Caroline M. Hoxby

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w5265.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5265.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Sep 1995
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Journal of Public Economics (1999).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5265
Note: PE
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. Roland Benabou, 1991. "Workings of a City: Location, Education, and Production," NBER Technical Working Papers 0113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Raquel Fernandez & Richard Rogerson, 1994. "On the political economy of education subsidies," Staff Report 185, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Thomas Romer & Howard Rosenthal, 1978. "Political resource allocation, controlled agendas, and the status quo," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 27-43, December.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

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 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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.