Serrano and Proposition 13: Comment on Isaac Martin, 'Does School Finance Litigation Cause Taxpayer Revolt'
William A. Fischel
Dartmouth College - Department of Economics
February 9, 2009
The California Supreme Court's 1976 Serrano decision, which required equalization of school spending and property-tax bases, was followed in 1978 by Proposition 13, which severely limited property taxes. This comment explains that evidence supporting a causal connection between the two events is not flawed by the problem of ecological inference. The Serrano decision applied to school districts, not individuals, and so the behavior of voters grouped by school districts is appropriate for testing the connection. Additional evidence presented here emphasizes the need to contrast a rejected property-tax limitation in 1972 with the overwhelming support for Proposition 13 six years later.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 25
Keywords: proposition 13, serrano, tax revolts, school finance
JEL Classification: H73, I22
Date posted: February 10, 2009