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Spending within Limits: Evidence from Municipal Fiscal Restraints
Leah Brooks (au); Yosh Halbersam (au); Justin Phillips (au)
This study asks when representative government falls short in limiting government and whether constitutional rules that act to constrain representative government are effective. Specifically, the authors study rules at the municipal level that constrain a cityäó»s ability to tax or spend. To do this, they identify a hitherto unclassified type of constitutional limit: a fiscal limit placed by a city on its own ability to tax or spend, which the authors call a locally- or munipally-imposed tax or expenditure limit. They find that such a limit exists in at least 1 in 8 cities, and that limits are not adopted in response to high levels of or variability in taxation. After limit adoption, municipal revenue growth declines by 16 to 22 percent. The results of this study suggest that institutional constraints may be effective when representative government falls short of the median voter ideal. Figures and tables. This is a print on demand report.
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