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

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
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
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
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 fiscal impacts of college attainment

This study quantifies one important part of the economic return to public investment in college education, namely, the fiscal benefits associated with greater college attainment. College graduates generally pay much more in taxes than those not going to college. Government expenditures are also generally much less for college graduates than for those without a college education. Indeed, over an average lifetime, total government spending per college degree is negative. That is, direct savings in post-college government expenditures are greater than government expenditures on higher education. ...
New England Public Policy Center Working Paper , Paper 07-2

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

Working Paper
The impact of wetlands rules on the prices of regulated and proximate houses: a case study

Federal, state and local wetlands protection laws that restrict landowners' ability to develop their properties in certain ways could decrease the value of the affected properties. However, the regulations could also give benefits to nearby neighbors, who no longer need to worry about increased development in their area. Given that some properties may decline in value while others increase, the impact on individual properties must be determined empirically. ; This study uses a data set from Newton, Massachusetts, to examine the impact of wetlands laws on the regulated properties as well as on ...
New England Public Policy Center Working Paper , Paper 07-3

Working Paper
The labor market for direct care workers

As the baby boom cohort nears retirement age, the question of how to provide necessary health care and personal services to a growing elderly population has become a looming policy problem. Beginning in 2020, the number of Americans over the age of 65 will surpass the number of primary providers of formal and informal long-term care (women between the ages of 20 and 44). Perceptions of shortage and very high turnover in today?s direct care labor market are compounding the potential problem. ; This paper provides an overview of the labor market for direct care workers in the United States, ...
New England Public Policy Center Working Paper , Paper 07-4

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
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

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