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NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Thomas Romer

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Working Papers

October 2005Local Public Good Provision: Voting, Peer Effects, and Mobility
with Stephen Calabrese, Dennis Epple, Holger Sieg: w11720
Few empirical strategies have been developed that investigate public provision under majority rule while taking explicit account of the constraints implied by mobility of households. The goal of this paper is to improve our understanding of voting in local communities when neighborhood quality depends on peer or neighborhood effects. We develop a new empirical approach which allows us to impose all restrictions that arise from locational equilibrium models with myopic voting simultaneously on the data generating process. We can then analyze how close myopic models come in replicating the main regularities about expenditures, taxes, sorting by income and housing observed in the data. We find that a myopic voting model that incorporates peer effects fits all dimensions of the data reason...

Published: Calabrese, Stephen, Dennis Epple, Thomas Romer and Holger Sieg. "Local Public Good Provision: Voting, Peer Effects, And Mobility," Journal of Public Economics, 2006, v90(6-7,Aug), 959-981.

February 1999The Tiebout Hypothesis and Majority Rule: An Empirical Analysis
with Dennis Epple, Holger Sieg: w6977
The paper provides a comprehensive empirical analysis of majority rule and Tiebout sorting within a system of local jurisdictions. The idea behind the estimation procedure is to investigate whether observed levels of public expenditures satisfy necessary conditions implied by majority rule in a general equilibrium model of residential choice. The estimator controls for both observed and unobserved heterogeneity among households, observed and unobserved characteristics of communities, the potential endogeneity of prices and expenditures as well as the self-selection of households into communities of their choice. We estimate the structural parameters of the model using data from the Boston Metropolitan Area. The empirical findings are by and large supportive of our approach.

Published: A revision of this paper was published as: “Interjurisdictional Sorting and Majority Rule: An Empirical Analysis,� D. Epple, T. Romer and H. Sieg, Econometrica, November 2001.

October 1987Economic Incentives and Political Institutions: Spending and Voting in School Budget Agenda
with Howard Rosenthal, Vincent Munley: w2406
Allocation of resources in the local public sector involves economic and political forces. Spending for elementary and secondary education is a major area of public expenditure. In many states, the bulk of this spending is subject to referendum. In addition, grants-in-aid from state governments to local school districts form an important component of the district revenues. This paper has two main features. One is the characterization of local spending when the state aid structure is of the closed-end matching grant type. Under this structure, local tax price is endogenous, since the amount of state subsidy depends on the district's spending choice. The other main feature is the linking of spending proposals to referendum outcomes. In this way, our model makes use of voting data to shed lig...

Published: Published as "Economic Incentives and Political Institutions: Spending and Voting in School Budget Referenda", Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 49(1992).

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