Partisanship and Fiscal Policy in Economic Unions: Evidence from U.S. States
In economic unions the ﬁscal authority consists not of one, but many governments. We analyze whether partisanship of state-level politicians aﬀects federal policies, such as ﬁscal stimulus in the U.S. Using data from close elections, we ﬁnd partisan diﬀerences in the marginal propensity to spend federal transfers: Republican governors spend less. This partisan diﬀerence has tended to increase with measures of polarization. We quantify the aggregate eﬀects in a New Keynesian model of Republican and Democratic states in a monetary union: Lowering partisan diﬀerences to levels ...
Changes in State Unemployment Insurance Rules during the COVID-19 Outbreak in the U.S.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to an unprecedented expansion in unemployment insurance (UI) eligibility across states. While more than forty states had modified UI rules by the end of March, not all states responded in the same way. In this article, I summarize the changes to state UI rules in response to the crisis and explore factors that have contributed to the variation in states’ responses.
The effect of state pension cut legislation on bank values
This study provides an empirical analysis of the impact of Wisconsin and Ohio pension cut legislation on values of banks operating in Wisconsin and Ohio, banks operating in other states in which pension cut legislation was being considered as Wisconsin and Ohio went through its legislative process, and all publicly traded U.S. banks. We find that banks doing business in Wisconsin and Ohio experience positive (negative) stock price reactions to announcements that indicate an increased (a decreased) probability of pension cut legislation. The stock price reactions are positively related to the ...
New Findings on the Fiscal Impact of Immigration in the United States
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2016) report on the economic and fiscal effects of immigration included the first set of comprehensive fiscal impacts published in twenty years. The estimates highlight the pivotal role of the public goods assumption. If immigrants are assigned the average cost of public goods, such as national defense and interest on the debt, then immigration?s fiscal impact is negative in both the short and long run. If, instead, immigrants are assigned the marginal cost of public goods, then the long-run fiscal impact is positive and the ...
Can Wealth Explain Neighborhood Sorting by Race and Income?
Why do high-income blacks live in neighborhoods with characteristics similar to those of low-income whites? One plausible explanation is wealth, since homeownership requires some wealth, and black households hold less wealth than white households at all levels of income. We present evidence against this hypothesis by showing that wealth does not predict sorting into neighborhood quality once race and income are taken into account. An alternative explanation is that the scarcity of high-quality black neighborhoods increases the cost of living in a high-quality neighborhood for black households ...
Household Debt and Local Public Finances
In the wake of the Great Recession, steep declines in state and local government expenditures and employment were a large and persistent source of economic weakness. The business cycle was also characterized by large increases and decreases in household debt. We estimate the extent to which variation in local government revenues and expenditures can be explained by variation in the expansion of household debt from 2002 to 2007, and the contraction thereafter. We merge individual credit balance data with municipal financial data from the Census of Governments. Using Census block indicators, we ...
What Explains Neighborhood Sorting by Income and Race?
Why do high-income black households live in neighborhoods with characteristics similar to those of low-income white households? We find that neighborhood sorting by income and race cannot be explained by financial constraints: High-income, high-wealth black households live in similar-quality neighborhoods as low-income, low-wealth white households. We provide evidence that black households sort across neighborhoods according to some non-pecuniary factor(s) correlated with the racial composition of neighborhoods. Black households sorting into black neighborhoods can explain the racial gap in ...
From urban core to wealthy towns: nonschool fiscal disparities across Connecticut municipalities
Fiscal disparities occur when economic resources and public service needs are unevenly distributed across localities. There are two equity concerns associated with fiscal disparities. First, as Yinger (1986) shows, it is not considered fair to require two otherwise-identical households to pay a different amount of taxes for the same level of public services simply because they live in different towns. Second, fiscal disparities render some towns at a disadvantage in economic competition (Downes and Pogue 1992). These towns must impose a higher tax rate and/or provide a lower level of public ...
Saving for a rainy day: estimating the appropriate size of U.S. state budget stabilization funds
Rainy day funds (RDFs) are potentially an important countercyclical tool for states to stabilize their budgets and the overall economy during economic downturns. However, U.S. states have often found themselves exhausting their RDFs and having to raise tax rates or reduce expenditures while still experiencing a downturn. Therefore, how much each state should save in its RDF has become an increasingly important policy question. To address this issue, this paper applies several new methodologies to develop target RDF levels for each U.S. state, based on the estimated short-term revenue ...
The role of economic, fiscal, and financial shocks in the evolution of public sector pension funding
Many studies have documented the pervasive underfunding of public sector pension plans in the United States in recent years. The deterioration of the funded status of public pension plans coincided with severe fiscal crises that state and local governments experienced in the 2000s. This development has led to a suspicion that state and local governments have decreased employer pension contributions as a backdoor means of running fiscal deficits. In this paper, the authors investigate the extent to which this phenomenon has occurred. They estimate panel data regressions using the Boston ...