Policy Design and the Politics of City Revenue: Evidence from California Municipal Ballot Measures
taxation, direct democracy, city politics
Residents of the United States rely on municipal governments to deliver important public goods but are often reluctant to pay for those goods. Can tax policy design affect voters’ propensity to say yes to local taxes? We answer this question by analyzing a new database of 929 tax increases of heterogeneous design that were proposed to California voters from 1996 to 2010. We find that voters’ willingness to raise a municipal tax varies with the choice of tax base, as well as with such policy design features as its timing and its symbolic links to particular purposes. The political limits on city revenue may vary substantially depending on how a tax is designed, and theories that assume otherwise—including several classic models of urban politics—may exaggerate the degree to which municipal revenues are constrained.
Original Publication Citation
Martin, Isaac W., Jane Lilly López, and Lauren Olsen. 2018. “Policy Design and the Politics of City Revenue: Evidence from California Municipal Ballot Measures.” Urban Affairs Review. https://doi.org/10.1177/1078087417752474
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Martin, Isaac William and Lopez, Jane, "Policy Design and the Politics of City Revenue: Evidence from California Municipal Ballot Measures" (2018). All Faculty Publications. 2733.
Urban Affairs Review
Family, Home, and Social Sciences
© The Author(s) 2018