Information, Tax Salience, and Support for School Bond Referenda

22 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2018

See all articles by Eric J. Brunner

Eric J. Brunner

University of Connecticut

Mark D. Robbins

University of Connecticut - Department of Public Policy

Bill Simonsen

University of Connecticut - Institute for Public Affairs (IPA)

Date Written: Winter 2018

Abstract

We examine whether the salience of the property tax liability implications of voting yes on a school bond referendum affects bond approval rates. We exploit the fact that school districts in Minnesota are required to explicitly note the property tax implications of voting yes on bond referenda in bold capital letters on a ballot while districts in the neighboring state of Wisconsin are only required to inform voters of the amount of bonds to be issued. Using data on local school bond passage rates from Minnesota and Wisconsin over the period 2008–2017, we find that when the property tax implications of voting yes are more salient, the fraction of voters favoring bond passage declines by approximately four to seven percentage points and the probability of bond passage falls by approximately ten percentage points. These results are robust to numerous specification checks including propensity score weighting methods and leveraging the geographic distance between school districts in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Suggested Citation

Brunner, Eric J. and Robbins, Mark D. and Simonsen, William (Bill), Information, Tax Salience, and Support for School Bond Referenda (Winter 2018). Public Budgeting & Finance, Vol. 38, Issue 4, pp. 52-73, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3295223 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/pbaf.12206

Eric J. Brunner (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut ( email )

Department of Public Policy
1800 Asylum Ave, 4th Floor
West Hartford, CT 06117
United States
860.570.9217 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/ericbrunner1/

Mark D. Robbins

University of Connecticut - Department of Public Policy ( email )

1800 Asylum Ave.
Library Building, 4th Floor
West Hartford, CT 06117
United States

William (Bill) Simonsen

University of Connecticut - Institute for Public Affairs (IPA) ( email )

Storrs, CT 06269
United States

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