Public infrastructure investments, productivity and welfare in fixed geographic areas
Measures of the value of public investments are critical inputs into the policy process, and aggregate production and cost functions have become the dominant methods of evaluating these benefits. This paper examines the limitations of these approaches in light of applied production and spatial equilibrium theories. A spatial general equilibrium model of an economy with nontraded, localized public goods like infrastructure is proposed, and a method for identifying the role of public capital in firm production and household preferences is derived. Empirical evidence from a sample of large U.S. ...
Can local governments give citizens what they want? Referendum outcomes in Massachusetts
Economists and political scientists have long debated the nature of the process that determines government taxation and service levels in a democracy. During the 1980s, the role of referenda in determining city and town property taxes, and hence local spending, increased dramatically in Massachusetts. This article uses recent Massachusetts experience to examine the degree to which citizens "get what they want" from the local public sector and what it is they seem to want. ; The passage of Proposition 21/2 in November 1980 signalled both a shift in statewide voter sentiment against local ...
State-local business taxation and the benefits principle
This article advances the proposition that general business taxation should be structured to recover the costs of public services rendered to the business community. Estimates of one possible form of such a tax structure are offered for states of the Seventh District and for other U.S. regions.
School quality and Massachusetts enrollment shifts in the context of tax limitations
Like most states, Massachusetts underwent a large shift in public school enrollment between the 1980s and 1990s, requiring a number of sizable fiscal and educational adjustments by individual school districts. Between 1980 and 1989, the number of students in kindergarten through grade 12 fell 21 percent, from 1.04 million to 825,000. As children of baby boomers reached school age, the picture changed and enrollments grew more than 90,000 over the next seven years. These aggregate trends gloss over even more marked shifts at the local level. This ...
Small-issue IDBs--tax policy in search of a focus
An examination of the history of small-issue industrial development bonds, with an analysis of the efficiency and effectiveness of this financing method.
Capital outlays and security offerings