Local revenue hills: Evidence from four U.S. cities

Andrew Haughwout, Robert Inman, Steven Craig, Thomas F Luce

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

We provide estimates of the effects and long-run elasticities of the tax base with respect to tax rates for four large U.S. cities: Houston (property taxation), Minneapolis (property taxation), New York City (property, general sales, and income taxation), and Philadelphia (property, gross receipts, and wage taxation). Results suggest that three of our cities are near the peaks of their revenue hills; Minneapolis is the exception. A significant negative effect of a balanced-budget increase in city property tax rates on the city property base is interpreted as a capitalization effect and suggests that marginal increases in city spending do not provide positive net benefits to property owners. Estimates of the effects of taxes on city employment levels for New York City and Philadelphia-the two cities for which employment series are available-show the local income and wage tax rates have significant negative effects on city employment levels. Cuts in these tax rates are likely to be an economically cost-effective way to increase city jobs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)570-585
Number of pages16
JournalReview of Economics and Statistics
Volume86
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2004

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