Does restricting choice in referenda enable governments to spend more?

Holcombe, Randall; Kenny, Lawrence
July 2008
Public Choice;Jul2008, Vol. 136 Issue 1/2, p87
Academic Journal
If school boards represent the preferences of the median voter, referendums to approve school expenditures should not constrain school expenditures. If school boards would choose expenditures larger than the median voter’s preference, referendums that restrict voters to approving or disapproving a school board’s recommended expenditure level will result in expenditures larger than the median voter would prefer. However, Florida used a unique referendum system which guaranteed the median voter’s most preferred outcome. Using Florida education expenditures as a benchmark, the evidence suggests that spending was slightly higher in restricted choice referendum states than in Florida.


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