IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/6792.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

All School Finance Equalizations Are Not Created Equal

Author

Listed:
  • Caroline M. Hoxby

Abstract

Public school finance equalization programs can be characterized by the change they impose on the tax price of an additional dollar of local school spending. I calculate the tax price of spending for each school district in the United States for 1972, 1982, and 1992. I find that using the actual tax prices (rather than treating school finance equalizations as events) resolves apparently conflicting evidence about the effects of equalizations on per-pupil spending. Depending on whether they impose tax prices greater than or less than one, school finance equalizations either enjoy increased spending under most equalization schemes, but they actually lose spending under the strongest schemes such as those that exist in California and New Mexico. More importantly, regardless of whether an equalization levels down or up, it should be understood as a tax system on districts' spending. I show that school finance equalization schemes have properties that are generally considered undesirable: they raise revenue on a base that is itself a function of the school finance system and they assign tax prices so that people with a high demand for education are penalized relative to otherwise identical people with the same income. I discuss some simple, familiar schemes that do not have these undesirable properties, yet can achieve similar redistribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Caroline M. Hoxby, 1998. "All School Finance Equalizations Are Not Created Equal," NBER Working Papers 6792, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6792
    Note: PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w6792.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hamilton, Bruce W, 1976. "Capitalization of Intrajurisdictional Differences in Local Tax Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(5), pages 743-753, December.
    2. Nechyba, Thomas, 1996. "A computable general equilibrium model of intergovernmental aid," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 363-397, November.
    3. 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.
    4. Silva, Fabio & Sonstelie, Jon, 1995. "Did Serrano Cause a Decline in School Spending," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 48(2), pages 199-215, June.
    5. David Card & A. Abigail Payne, 1997. "School Finance Reform, the Distribution of School Spending, and the Distribution of SAT Scores," Working Papers 766, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    6. Gerhard Glomm & B. Ravikumar, 1998. "Opting out of publicly provided services: A majority voting result," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 15(2), pages 187-199.
    7. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
    8. Silva, Fabio & Sonstelie, Jon, 1995. "Did Serrano Cause a Decline in School Spending," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(2), pages 199-215, June.
    9. Robert Manwaring & Steven Sheffrin, 1997. "Litigation, School Finance Reform, and Aggregate Educational Spending," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 4(2), pages 107-127, May.
    10. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E., 1996. "Ends against the middle: Determining public service provision when there are private alternatives," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 297-325, November.
    11. repec:fth:prinin:387 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. James R. Hines & Richard H. Thaler, 1995. "The Flypaper Effect," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 217-226, Fall.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Fernández, Raquel, 2001. "Sorting, Education and Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 3020, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Raquel Fernandez, 2001. "Sorting, Education and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 8101, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Raquel Fernandez & Richard Rogerson, 2003. "Equity and Resources: An Analysis of Education Finance Systems," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(4), pages 858-897, August.
    4. 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.
    5. Mörk, Eva & Ahlin, Åsa, 2007. "Effects of decentralization on school resources: Sweden 1989-2002," Working Paper Series 2007:9, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    6. Goodspeed, Timothy J., 1998. "The Relationship Between State Income Taxes and Local Property Taxes: Education Finance in New Jersey," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 51(2), pages 219-238, June.
    7. Thomas J. Nechyba, 2006. "Alternative education finance strategies," Regional Economic Development, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 7-27.
    8. Fernández, Raquel & Rogerson, Richard, 1999. "Education finance reform and investment in human capital: lessons from California," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 327-350, December.
    9. Thomas J. Nechyba, 2003. "Centralization, Fiscal Federalism, and Private School Attendance," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(1), pages 179-204, February.
    10. Eric J. Brunner & Jon Sonstelie, 2006. "California's School Finance Reform: An Experiment in Fiscal Federalism," Working papers 2006-09, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    11. Ahlin, Åsa & Mörk, Eva, 2008. "Effects of decentralization on school resources," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 276-284, June.
    12. Aaronson, Daniel, 1999. "The Effect of School Finance Reform on Population Heterogeneity," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 52(1), pages 5-29, March.
    13. Eric J. Brunner & Stephen L. Ross, 2007. "How Decisive Is the Decisive Voter?," Working papers 2007-28, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2008.
    14. Barrow, Lisa & Rouse, Cecilia Elena, 2004. "Using market valuation to assess public school spending," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1747-1769, August.
    15. Thomas Downes, 2003. "School Finance Reform and School Quality: Lessons from Vermont," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0309, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    16. Ferreira, Fernando, 2010. "You can take it with you: Proposition 13 tax benefits, residential mobility, and willingness to pay for housing amenities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 661-673, October.
    17. Blankenau, William & Skidmore, Mark, 2002. "The Relationship Between Education Finance Reform and Tax and Expenditure Limitations," Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, vol. 32(1), pages 1-18.
    18. James Alm & Robert D. Buschman & David L. Sjoquist, 0. "Citizen "Trust" as an Explanation of State Education Funding to Local School Districts," Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 636-661.
    19. Eric J. Brunner & Stephen L. Ross, 2009. "Is the Median Voter Decisive? Evidence of 'Ends Against the Middle' From Referenda Voting Patterns," Working papers 2009-02, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised May 2010.

    More about this item

    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:6792. 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: https://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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    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.