Tiebout, Time, and Transition in the Structure of Local Government in U.S. Metropolitan Areas

CSUS Public Policy and Administration Working Paper No. 1997-07

30 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2000

See all articles by Robert W. Wassmer

Robert W. Wassmer

California State University, Sacramento - Department of Public Policy & Administration

Ronald C. Fisher

Michigan State University - Department of Accounting & Information Systems; Michigan State University - Department of Economics

Date Written: September 2000

Abstract

Citizens in U.S. metropolitan areas receive goods and services provided by sub-county governments that include municipalities/townships, school districts, and special districts. Beginning with Tiebout, economists have theorized that economic factors play an important role in determining the observed variation in local government structure across U.S. metropolitan areas. Earlier cross-sectional studies have shown that greater variation in the economic and demographic characteristics of residents, holding all else constant, exerts a positive effect on the number of local governments in a metropolitan area at a point in time. Here, we examine the effect that a change in the variation in these economic characteristics has on the change in the number of local governments over the decade 1982 to 1992. We find evidence that in even the relatively short period of ten years, increased variation in household income in a metropolitan area leads to more, or smaller, local school districts and special districts within a metropolitan area. Our findings are consistent with Tiebout's model and offer further evidence in support of the theory that has become the cornerstone of economic thinking on local public finance.

JEL Classification: R5, H1

Suggested Citation

Wassmer, Robert William and Fisher, Ronald C., Tiebout, Time, and Transition in the Structure of Local Government in U.S. Metropolitan Areas (September 2000). CSUS Public Policy and Administration Working Paper No. 1997-07. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=241982 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.241982

Robert William Wassmer (Contact Author)

California State University, Sacramento - Department of Public Policy & Administration ( email )

Sacramento, CA 95819-6081
United States
916-278-6304 (Phone)
916-278-6544 (Fax)

Ronald C. Fisher

Michigan State University - Department of Accounting & Information Systems ( email )

270 North Business Complex
East Lansing, MI 48824-1034
United States
517-355-2326 (Phone)

Michigan State University - Department of Economics ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824
United States
517-355-0293 (Phone)

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
133
Abstract Views
1,091
rank
222,368
PlumX Metrics