Private Demands for Public Capital: Evidence from California School Bond Referenda

Research Report

Private Demands for Public Capital: Evidence from California School Bond Referenda

Abstract

This paper develops a framework for estimating demand for school infrastructure investment that is financed through local bond referenda. Our framework takes explicit account of the irregular and discrete nature of local capital investment and the objective functions of local school boards. Our empirical model consists of a three-equation system composed of a proposed spending equation, a vote equation, and a selection equation. Estimated income and price elasticities of demand for school infrastructure are similar to those found in studies of current school spending. We also find that school boards act like risk-averse, budget-maximizing agenda setters. (Journal of Urban Economics 54(3): 610-638, November 2003.)

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