Working Papers

Crowd-Out of Private Contributions to Local Public Goods: Evidence from School Tax Referenda

Abstract: While primarily publicly funded government entities, most public school districts receive private donations. I estimate how local school taxes crowd out private, voluntary contributions to public education. To do this, I exploit quasi-experimental variation in tax revenue stemming from local elections. I collect data from a large set of referenda in which local taxes face voter approval in four Midwestern states, combined with administrative records of the sources of school district revenues. Using a regression discontinuity design around voting thresholds that determine passage of local referenda, I show that private contributions to public school systems are not crowded out by local taxes. I can reject that a one dollar increase in taxes causes more than approximately a 1.5 cent decrease in private contributions.

Work in Progress

“Valuing Public School Facilities with Bond Elections in Ohio”
“Optimal Fiscal Limits with Overrides” (with Stephen Coate)
“School Infrastructure Spending and Academic Outcomes” (with Michel Grosz)