School Quality and Massachusetts Enrollment Shifts in the Context of Tax Limitations

Wellesley College Working Paper No. 98-12

Posted: 12 Nov 1998

See all articles by Karl E. Case

Karl E. Case

Deceased

Katharine Bradbury

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Christopher J. Mayer

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: August 1998

Abstract

Like most states, Massachusetts underwent a large shift in public school enrollments 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 article investigates the degree to which the constraints of Proposition 2 1/2, and other factors such as demographic and economic shifts and differences in school quality, affected the adjustments that both local governments and households made to a demographically driven turnaround in enrollment growth. The authors report three major findings: (1) Net public school enrollment changes are positively related to differences across communities in school quality. (2) Shifts in enrollments were much more pronounced in the 1990s, when aggregate enrollments were rising and the economy was improving. (3) Proposition 2 1/2 appears to have significantly altered the pattern of enrollment changes, with families with students moving to districts less constrained by this property tax limit.

JEL Classification: H29, H42, H7, H71, H72, I2, I22

Suggested Citation

Case, Karl E. and Bradbury, Katharine and Mayer, Christopher J., School Quality and Massachusetts Enrollment Shifts in the Context of Tax Limitations (August 1998). Wellesley College Working Paper No. 98-12. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=127728

Katharine Bradbury

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston ( email )

600 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, MA 02210
United States

Christopher J. Mayer

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
602
PlumX Metrics