School Spending and Student Outcomes: Evidence from Revenue Limit Elections in Wisconsin

65 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2019 Last revised: 18 May 2020

Date Written: November 5, 2019

Abstract

This study examines the impact of school spending on student outcomes. State-imposed revenue limits cap the total amount of revenue that a school district in Wisconsin can raise, unless the district holds a local referendum asking voters to exceed the cap. Importantly, Wisconsin law requires districts to hold separate referenda for operational and capital expenditures, which allows for estimating their independent effects. Leveraging close elections in a dynamic regression discontinuity framework, I find that increases in operational spending have substantial positive effects on test scores, dropout rates, and postsecondary enrollment, but additional capital expenditures have little impact.

Keywords: School Spending, Student Outcomes, Dynamic Regression Discontinuity

JEL Classification: H0, H41, H75, I20, I22, I24, I28, J24

Suggested Citation

Baron, E. Jason, School Spending and Student Outcomes: Evidence from Revenue Limit Elections in Wisconsin (November 5, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3430766 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3430766

E. Jason Baron (Contact Author)

Duke University ( email )

213 Social Sciences Building
Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.ejasonbaron.com

NBER ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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