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IFS/STICERD/UCL Development Work in Progress Seminar & IFS/STICERD/UCL Development Work in Progress Seminar

Fiscal Capacity and Public Spending: Historical Evidence from U.S. Cities

Sacha Dray (Department of Economics, LSE)

Thursday 04 November 2021 12:30 - 14:00

Many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as in person or as hybrid (online and in person) events. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.

Unless otherwise specified, in-person seminars are open to the public.

Those unable to join the seminars in-person are welcome to participate via zoom if the event is hybrid.


About this event

This paper explores the importance of sources of revenue for local public spending. Using newly collected data on municipal finances for more than 300 U.S. cities over 1910-1936, I leverage information on revenue flow from 44 categories with a city's past reliance on each category to predict both tax and non-tax revenue (intergovernmental transfers, fees and charges). Additional tax revenue causes greater spending on service provision than same-sized non-tax revenue, with additional services concentrated on education, welfare and public safety. Second, tax revenues have more persistent effects on total revenue, spending, and service provision. Tax revenue increases total revenue by 81% 10 years after the initial increase, while similar non-tax revenue affects total revenue for only 3 years. Third, I find long-run effects of tax revenue. Combining municipal finance data for 1940-2000, I provide evidence that cities with more tax revenue per capita in 1910-1936 have greater revenue and expenditure per capita throughout the next 60 years, associated with a higher median household income, larger population and migration.

This seminar series is jointly organized by the IFS, STICERD, and UCL.

IFS/STICERD/UCL Development Economics Work In Progress seminars are held on Thursdays in term time at 10:00-14:00, at the IFS, unless specified otherwise.

Seminar organisers: Oriana Bandiera (STICERD, LSE), Imran Rasul (UCL), Britta Augsburg (IFS) and Jonathan Weigel (LSE).

For further information please contact Lubala Chibwe, either by email: l.chibwe@lse.ac.uk.

Registration is required, via our mailing list:

Please use this link to subscribe or unsubscribe to the Development Economics Work In Progress seminars mailing list (developmentwip).

This seminar series is jointly organized by the IFS, STICERD, and UCL.

IFS/STICERD/UCL Development Economics Work In Progress seminars are held on Thursdays in term time at 10:00-14:00, at the IFS, unless specified otherwise.

Seminar organisers: Oriana Bandiera (STICERD, LSE), Imran Rasul (UCL), Britta Augsburg (IFS) and Jonathan Weigel (LSE).

For further information please contact Lubala Chibwe, either by email: l.chibwe@lse.ac.uk.

Registration is required, via our mailing list:

Please use this link to subscribe or unsubscribe to the Development Economics Work In Progress seminars mailing list (developmentwip).