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Series:New England Public Policy Center Working Paper  Bank:Federal Reserve Bank of Boston 

Working Paper
Does Springfield receive its fair share of municipal aid? : implications for aid formula reform in Massachusetts

This paper examines the distribution of unrestricted municipal aid in Massachusetts, which has been a major concern to civic leaders and elected officials of many communities, including Springfield. The paper develops a measure of the municipal fiscal gap indicating the relative need of municipalities for state aid. The analysis shows that in recent years, unrestricted municipal aid has not been distributed in proportion to the gap measure among the 10 largest cities in Massachusetts. For example, despite having the largest municipal gap, Springfield received almost the lowest per capita ...
New England Public Policy Center Working Paper , Paper 10-4

Working Paper
The fiscal impact of potential local option taxes in Massachusetts

This paper examines the potential impact of local-option taxes on meals, general sales, income, and payroll on revenue-raising capacity in Massachusetts municipalities. It finds that, while new local-option taxes would generate considerable additional revenues from untapped sources, revenue capacity is not evenly distributed across municipalities. Indeed, local-option taxes are likely to exacerbate fiscal disparities, because municipalities with low existing revenue-raising capacity often lack the tax bases for new local-option taxes. Policymakers could consider increasing equalizing state ...
New England Public Policy Center Working Paper , Paper 10-2

Working Paper
House prices and risk sharing

We show that homeowners are able to maintain a high level of consumption following job loss or disability in periods of rising house values. However, the consumption drop for consumers who simultaneously lose their job and equity in their houses is substantial. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we verify that homeowners smooth consumption more than renters, and that consumption smoothing improves when houses appreciate in the area of residence. We calibrate and simulate a model of endogenous homeownership and home-equity loans, and show that the model is able to reproduce ...
New England Public Policy Center Working Paper , Paper 09-3

Working Paper
The role of the housing market in the migration response to employment shocks

The United States is known for the ability of its residents to move to where the jobs are, and this has helped the nation maintain its position as the world?s top economy. Households? decisions to move depend not only on job prospects but also on the relative cost of housing. I investigate how the housing market affects the flow of workers across cities. This occurs through at least two channels: the relative mobility of homeowners versus renters, and the relative cost of housing across markets. I use homeownership rates to measure the former, and use an index that measures house prices ...
New England Public Policy Center Working Paper , Paper 09-2

Working Paper
Unaffordable housing and local employment growth

High housing prices have caused concerns among policy makers as well as the public in many U.S. regions. There is a general belief that unaffordable housing could drive businesses away and thus impede job growth. However, there has been little empirical evidence that supports this view. In this paper, we clarify how housing affordability is linked to employment growth and why unaffordable housing could negatively affect employment growth. We empirically measure this effect using data on California municipalities and U.S. metropolitan areas and counties. It is argued that for various reasons a ...
New England Public Policy Center Working Paper , Paper 10-3

Working Paper
Spatial competition and cross-border shopping

This paper investigates competition between jurisdictions in the context of cross-border shopping for state lottery tickets. We first develop a simple theoretical model in which consumers choose between state lotteries and face a trade-off between travel costs and the price of a fair gamble, which is declining in the size of the jackpot and the odds of winning. Given this trade-off, the model predicts that per-resident sales should be more responsive to prices in small states with densely populated borders, relative to large states with sparsely populated borders. Our empirical analysis ...
New England Public Policy Center Working Paper , Paper 10-1

Working Paper
Voting with their feet?: local economic conditions and migration patterns in New England

Over the past several years, policymakers and business leaders throughout New England have expressed concern regarding the region's ability to attract and retain skilled workers, given the economic climate of the region compared with other parts of the nation. Indeed, net domestic migration for New England became increasingly negative after the 2001 recession, as the number of people leaving the region exceeded those entering. Examining the factors underlying these migration trends is important for determining what role, if any, public policy might play in addressing their potential impact on ...
New England Public Policy Center Working Paper , Paper 09-1

Working Paper
Public-private partnerships, cooperative agreements, and the production of public services in small and rural municipalities

Using data from approximately 1,000 small and mostly rural municipalities from Illinois, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin, the authors study choices in production arrangements over a wide range of services, and examine a variety of contracting options available to local governments. The data reveal that municipalities often rely on contracts to provide an extensive list of services. ; The use of for-profit contractors and cooperative agreements with other governments correlates negatively with population. Nonetheless, small municipalities are less likely to use competitive bidding processes, ...
New England Public Policy Center Working Paper , Paper 08-4

Working Paper
Municipal aid evaluation and reform

The distribution of unrestricted municipal aid has been a major policy concern in many states. Using Massachusetts as a case study, this paper examines the extent to which unrestricted municipal aid is responsive to the variation in the underlying fiscal health of municipalities. The paper uses a measure of ?municipal gap??based on local economic and social characteristics outside the direct control of local officials?to indicate the underlying fiscal health of cities and towns. The analysis finds large disparities in municipal gaps among Massachusetts cities and towns, and that those ...
New England Public Policy Center Working Paper , Paper 11-1

Working Paper
The dynamic between municipal revenue sources and the state-local relationship in New England

This working paper was written for the New England Public Policy Center?s third annual conference: ?The Dynamic between Municipal Revenue Sources and the State-Local Relationship in New England?. It relies on data from the U.S. Census to examine the dynamic between municipal revenues and the state-local relationship in New England. The analysis shows that?compared with the nation as a whole?municipal governments in New England rely very heavily on the property tax. They also have limited or no access to local-option revenues such as sales taxes, and they rely less on fees and other nontax ...
New England Public Policy Center Working Paper , Paper 08-1

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