Homeowners, Renters and the Political Economy of Property Taxation
Many economists have cited fiscal illusion as an argument against specific types of taxes arguing that less visible taxes may cause voters to systematically underestimate the true burden of taxation. The higher willingness of renters to support an increase in the property tax, often referred to as renter illusion, is often used as one of the classic examples of fiscal illusion. In this paper we use detailed micro-level survey data of registered voters in California to provide new evidence on the renter illusion hypothesis. The survey data contains voter responses to two key questions: 1) their willingness to pay higher property taxes to expand funding for public services and 2) their willingness to pay higher sales taxes to fund those services. Using a difference-in-differences estimation strategy to control for individual specific preferences for public service spending, we find first that renters are approximately 10 to 15 percentage points more likely than homeowners to favor a property tax increase over a sales tax increase to fund public services. However, further analysis indicates that our results are not driven by the voting behavior of renters. Results based solely on the sample of renters indicate that renters are indifferent between a property tax increase and a sales tax increase. In contrast, homeowners strongly oppose a property tax increase relative to a sales tax increase. These results cast doubt on the strong version of the renter illusion hypothesis that suggests renters believe they do not pay the property tax. Further analysis reveals that the strong opposition among homeowners to the property tax is not associated with the relative tax burden faced by homeowners. Examining the variation in tax burden created by Proposition 13 in California, we find that homeowner aversion to the property tax does not increase with the homeowner’s relative tax burden. These findings of homeowner aversion to property taxes are consistent with recent work suggesting that salience matters when voters evaluate taxes, but also suggest that increased salience does not necessarily lead to more careful consideration of individual tax burdens.
|Date of creation:||Oct 2013|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: (860) 486-4889
Fax: (860) 486-4463
Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Marika Cabral & Caroline Hoxby, 2012. "The Hated Property Tax: Salience, Tax Rates, and Tax Revolts," NBER Working Papers 18514, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Dollery, Brian & Worthington, Andrew, 1999. "Fiscal Illusion at the Local Level: An Empirical Test Using Australian Municipal Data," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 75(228), pages 37-48, March.
- H. Spencer Banzhaf & Wallace E. Oates, 2012. "On Fiscal Illusion and Ricardian Equivalence in Local Public Finance," NBER Working Papers 18040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Dollery, Brian E & Worthington, Andrew C, 1996. " The Empirical Analysis of Fiscal Illusion," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(3), pages 261-97, September.
- Rebecca J. Campbell, 2004. "Leviathan and Fiscal Illusion in Local Government Overlapping Jurisdictions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 120(3_4), pages 301-329, 09.
- 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.
- Lisa Barrow & Cecilia Elena Rouse, 2002. "Using Market Valuation to Assess Public School Spending," NBER Working Papers 9054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Blumkin, Tomer & Ruffle, Bradley J. & Ganun, Yosef, 2007.
"Are Income and Consumption Taxes Ever Really Equivalent? Evidence from a Real-Effort Experiment with Real Goods,"
6479, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Blumkin, Tomer & Ruffle, Bradley J. & Ganun, Yosef, 2012. "Are income and consumption taxes ever really equivalent? Evidence from a real-effort experiment with real goods," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 1200-1219.
- Blumkin, Tomer & Ruffle, Bradley & Ganun, Yosef, 2010. "Are Income and Consumption Taxes Ever Really Equivalent? Evidence from a Real-Effort Experiment with Real Goods," IZA Discussion Papers 5145, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Tomer Blumkin & Bradley J. Ruffle & Yosef Ganun, 2008. "Are Income and Consumption Taxes ever really Equivalent? Evidence from a Real-Effort Experiment with Real Goods," CESifo Working Paper Series 2194, CESifo Group Munich.
- Tomer Blumkin & Bradley J. Ruffle & Yosef Ganun, 2008. "Are Income and Consumption Taxes Ever Really Equivalent? Evidence from a Real-Effort Experiment with Real Goods," Working Papers 0801, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.
- Caplan, Bryan, 2001. " Rational Irrationality and the Microfoundations of Political Failure," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 107(3-4), pages 311-31, June.
- Bergstrom, Theodore C & Goodman, Robert P, 1973. "Private Demands for Public Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 280-96, June.
- Sean Corcoran & William N. Evans, 2010. "Income Inequality, the Median Voter, and the Support for Public Education," NBER Working Papers 16097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Cattaneo, M. Alejandra & Wolter, Stefan C., 2009.
"Are the elderly a threat to educational expenditures?,"
European Journal of Political Economy,
Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 225-236, June.
- Alejandra Cattaneo & Stefan C. Wolter, 2007. "Are The Elderly A Threat To Educational Expenditures?," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0003, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
- Alejandra Cattaneo & Stefan C. Wolter, 2007. "Are the Elderly a Threat to Educational Expenditures?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2089, CESifo Group Munich.
- repec:tpr:qjecon:v:125:y:2010:i:1:p:215-261 is not listed on IDEAS
- J. Biegeleisen & David Sjoquist, 1988. "Rational voting applied to choice of taxes," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 57(1), pages 39-47, April.
- Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2007.
"Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence,"
NBER Working Papers
13330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009. "Salience and taxation: theory and evidence," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-11, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Looney, Adam & Kroft, Kory & Chetty, Raj, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," Scholarly Articles 9748525, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- 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.
- Brunner, Eric J. & Ross, Stephen L., 2010. "Is the median voter decisive? Evidence from referenda voting patterns," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 898-910, December.
- Ed Baldson & Eric Brunner, 2003.
"Intergenerational Conflict and the Political Economy of School Spending,"
2003-24, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
- Brunner, Eric & Balsdon, Ed, 2004. "Intergenerational conflict and the political economy of school spending," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 369-388, September.
- Brueckner, Jan K., 1983. "Property value maximization and public sector efficiency," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 1-15, July.
- Bates, Laurie J. & Santerre, Rexford E., 2003. "The impact of a state mandated expenditure floor on aggregate property values," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 531-540, May.
- Brueckner, Jan K., 1979. "Property values, local public expenditure and economic efficiency," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 223-245, March.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2013-30. 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: (Mark McConnel)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.