NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Christian Hilber

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October 2004Why Do Households Without Children Support Local Public Schools?
with Christopher J. Mayer: w10804
While residents receive similar benefits from many local government programs, only about one-third of all households have children in public schools. We argue that capitalization of school spending into house prices can encourage residents to support spending on schools, even if the residents themselves will never have children in schools. We identify a proxy for the extent of capitalization—the supply of land available for new development—and show that in response to a plausibly exogenous spending shock in Massachusetts, towns with little undeveloped land have larger changes in house prices, but smaller changes in quantity (construction). Towns with little available land also spend more on schools. We extend these results using data from school districts in 46 states, showing that...

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