Urban Public Finance

67 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2012

See all articles by Edward L. Glaeser

Edward L. Glaeser

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: July 2012

Abstract

America's local governments spend about one-eighth of our national income, one-fourth of total government spending, and employ over 14 million people. This paper surveys the large and growing economics literature on local governments and their finances. A primary difference between local and national government is the ease of labor mobility within countries, which disciplines local governments and means that heterogeneous service levels can be beneficial, but mobility also challenges local attempts at redistribution. The empirical literature on mobility responses to local government is distinguished, but remains a pressing area for future research. We have sophisticated models of local spending, tax policy and institutional design, but research is often far less developed on even basic questions of costs and benefits of core local public services.

Suggested Citation

Glaeser, Edward L., Urban Public Finance (July 2012). NBER Working Paper No. w18244. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2114870

Edward L. Glaeser (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Brookings Institution

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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