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Why Do School District Budget Referenda Fail?

  • Ronald G. Ehrenberg
  • Randy A. Ehrenberg
  • Christopher L. Smith
  • Liang Zhang

Our paper analyzes historical data for New York State on the percentagee of school budget proposals that are defeated each year and panel data that we have collected on budget vote success for indvidual school districts in the state. We find that changes in state aid matter, but not as much as one might expect. Defeating a budget proposal in one year neither increases nor decreases the likelihood that voters will defeat a proposal the next year. Districts whose school board members have longer terms have lower probabilities of having their budget proposals defeated. Finally, measures of school district educational and financial performance do not appear to influence budget vote outcomes.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9088.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9088.

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Date of creation: Aug 2002
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Publication status: published as Ehrenberg, Ronald G., RAndy A. Ehrenberg, Christopher L. Smith, and Liang Zhang. "Why Do School District Budget Referenda Fail?" Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 26, 2 (2004): 111-125.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9088
Note: PE ED
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  1. Dunne, Stephanie & Reed, W Robert & Wilbanks, James, 1997. " Endogenizing the Median Voter: Public Choice Goes to School," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 93(1-2), pages 99-118, October.
  2. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  3. Gramlich, Edward M & Rubinfeld, Daniel L, 1982. "Micro Estimates of Public Spending Demand Functions and Tests of the Tiebout and Median-Voter Hypotheses," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(3), pages 536-60, June.
  4. Rubinfeld, Daniel L, 1977. "Voting in a Local School Election: A Micro Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 59(1), pages 30-42, February.
  5. Lankford, R. Hamilton, 1985. "Preferences of citizens for public expenditures on elementary and secondary education," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 1-20, January.
  6. Heckman, James J & Borjas, George J, 1980. "Does Unemployment Cause Future Unemployment? Definitions, Questions and Answers from a Continuous Time Model of Heterogeneity and State Dependence," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 47(187), pages 247-83, August.
  7. Lankford, Ralph Hamilton, 1985. "Efficiency and Equity in the Provision of Public Education," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(1), pages 70-80, February.
  8. Richard J. Butler & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1981. "Estimating the narcotic effect of public sector impasse procedures," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 35(1), pages 3-20, October.
  9. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Ronald A. Ehrenberg & Richard P. Chaykowski, 1988. "Determinants of the compensation and mobility of school superintendents," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 41(3), pages 386-401, April.
  10. Romer, Thomas & Rosenthal, Howard & Munley, Vincent G., 1992. "Economic incentives and political institutions: Spending and voting in school budget referenda," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 1-33, October.
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