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Intergenerational Conflict and the Political Economy of School Spending

  • Ed Baldson

    (San Diego State University)

  • Eric Brunner

    (San Diego State University)

In this paper we use survey data to examine support among voters from different age cohorts for public school spending. The survey asked potential voters in California how they intended to vote on two initiatives, one a statewide initiative that would increase spending on public schools throughout the state and the other a local initiative that would increase spending only in the respondent’s local school district. We find that older voters without children generally oppose increases in state spending but are much more willing to support local spending. We examine two explanations for this voting pattern, namely the capitalization of local spending into housing values and intergenerational altruism. Our results do not strongly favor one explanation over the other. Consequently, we conclude that both factors (capitalization and intergenerational altruism) probably play important roles in sustaining support among older voters for local school spending.

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Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2003-24.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2003-24
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Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/

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  1. Sandra E. Black, 1997. "Do better schools matter? Parental valuation of elementary education," Research Paper 9729, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  2. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Harvey S. Rosen, 1989. "Municipal Construction Spending: An Empirical Examination," NBER Working Papers 2989, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. James M. Poterba, 1996. "Demographic Structure and the Political Economy of Public Education," NBER Working Papers 5677, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Chamberlain, Gary, 1980. "Analysis of Covariance with Qualitative Data," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 225-38, January.
  5. Brueckner, Jan K. & Joo, Man-Soo, 1991. "Voting with capitalization," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 453-467, November.
  6. Oates, Wallace E, 1969. "The Effects of Property Taxes and Local Public Spending on Property Values: An Empirical Study of Tax Capitalization and the Tiebout Hypothesis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(6), pages 957-71, Nov./Dec..
  7. Ladd, Helen F. & Murray, Sheila E., 2001. "Intergenerational conflict reconsidered: county demographic structure and the demand for public education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 343-357, August.
  8. Clotfelter, Charles T., 1985. "Federal Tax Policy and Charitable Giving," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226110486.
  9. Bogart, William T. & Cromwell, Brian A., 1997. "How Much More is a Good School District Worth?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 50(2), pages 215-32, June.
  10. Poterba, James M, 1998. "Demographic Change, Intergenerational Linkages, and Public Education," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 315-20, May.
  11. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Harvey S. Rosen, 1993. "Municipal Construction Spending: An Empirical Examination," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(1), pages 61-84, 03.
  12. Auten, Gerald & Joulfaian, David, 1996. "Charitable contributions and intergenerational transfers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 55-68, January.
  13. Fischel, William A., 2001. "Homevoters, Municipal Corporate Governance, and the Benefit View of the Property Tax," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 1), pages 157-74, March.
  14. 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.
  15. Harris, Amy Rehder & Evans, William N. & Schwab, Robert M., 2001. "Education spending in an aging America," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 449-472, September.
  16. Bergstrom, Theodore C & Rubinfeld, Daniel L & Shapiro, Perry, 1982. "Micro-Based Estimates of Demand Functions for Local School Expenditures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1183-1205, September.
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