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Local Revenue Hills: Evidence from Four U.S. Cities

  • Andrew F. Haughwout
  • Robert P. Inman
  • Steven Craig
  • Thomas Luce

We provide estimates of the impact and long-run elasticities of tax base with respect to tax rates for four large U.S. cities: Houston (property taxation), Minneapolis (property taxation), New York City (property, general sales, and income taxation), and Philadelphia (property, gross receipts, and wage taxation). Results suggest that three of our cities are near the peaks of their revenue hills; Minneapolis is the exception. A significant negative effect of a balanced budget increase in city property tax rates on city property tax base is interpreted as a capitalization effect and suggests that marginal increases in tax-financed city spending do not provide positive net benefits to property owners. Estimates of the effects of taxes on city employment levels for New York City and Philadelphia -- the two cities for which employment series are available -- show the local income and wage tax rates have significant negative effects on city employment levels. Cuts in these tax rates are likely to be an economically cost effective way to increase city jobs.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9686.

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Date of creation: May 2003
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Publication status: published as Andrew Haughwout & Robert Inman & Steven Craig & Thomas Luce, 2004. "Local Revenue Hills: Evidence from Four U.S. Cities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 570-585, 06.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9686
Note: PE
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  1. Austan Goolsbee & Edward L Maydew, 1998. "Coveting Thy Neighbor's Manuafacturing: The Dilemma of State Income Apportionment," NBER Working Papers 6614, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  10. Haughwout, Andrew F., 1998. "Aggregate Production Functions, Interregional Equilibrium, and the Measurement of Infrastructure Productivity," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 216-227, September.
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  12. Mark, Stephen T. & McGuire, Therese J. & Papke, Leslie E., 2000. "The Influence of Taxes on Employment and Population Growth: Evidence from the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 1), pages 105-24, March.
  13. Gyourko, Joseph & Tracy, Joseph, 1989. "Local public sector rent-seeking and its impact on local land values," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 493-516, August.
  14. Raymond, Jennie E & Rich, Robert W, 1997. "Oil and the Macroeconomy: A Markov State-Switching Approach," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(2), pages 193-213, May.
  15. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew E. Kahn, 1999. "From John Lindsay to Rudy Giuliani: the decline of the local safety net?," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Sep, pages 117-132.
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  18. Brueckner, Jan K., 1982. "A test for allocative efficiency in the local public sector," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 311-331, December.
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