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Total State In-Migration and Public Policy in the United States: A Comparative Analysis of the Great recession and the Pre- and Post-Great Recession Years

  • Cebula, Richard
  • Nair-Reichert, Usha
  • Coombs, Christopher

This study adopts state-level data to empirically investigate the Tiebout hypothesis (as extended by Tullock) of “voting with one’s feet” for the period referred to in the U.S. as the “Great Recession” (2007-2009). As compared to previous studies, we use more recent data and provide estimates for three time periods: the “Great Recession” (from July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2009), the pre-Great Recession period (July 1, 2004 through June 30, 2006) and the post-Great Recession period (July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2011). This analysis also differs from most previous literature by including a separate cost of living variable and a variable measuring effective state personal income tax rates. After allowing for various economic factors and quality of life/climate variables, migrants (consumer-voters) over the 2007-2009 period appear to prefer states with lower effective state personal income tax rates and higher levels of “fiscal surplus,” defined in this study for each state as the total outlay per pupil on primary and secondary public education minus the per capita property tax level. The three empirical estimates all demonstrate that the Tiebout/Tullock hypothesis was operational not only during but also both before and after the Great Recession since for all three time periods migrants (consumer-voters) manifested a preference for lower effective state personal income tax rates and higher levels of fiscal surplus.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 56484.

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Date of creation: 04 Nov 2013
Date of revision: 02 Feb 2014
Publication status: Published in Regional Studies, Regional Science 1.1(2014): pp. 102-115
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:56484
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  1. Leonard Carlson & Richard Cebula, 1981. "Voting with one's feet: A brief note on the case of public welfare and the American Indian," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 321-325, January.
  2. Conway, Karen Smith & Houtenville, Andrew J., 2001. "Elderly Migration and State Fiscal Policy: Evidence from the 1990 Census Migration Flows," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 1), pages 103-24, March.
  3. Cebula, Richard, 1978. "The Determinants of Human Migration," MPRA Paper 58401, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Chi, Guangqing & Voss, Paul, 2005. "Migration Decision-making: A Hierarchical Regression Approach," Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, vol. 35(2).
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