Municipal aid evaluation and reform
Bo Zhao ()
No 11-1, New England Public Policy Center Working Paper from Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
The distribution of unrestricted municipal aid has been a major policy concern in many states. Using Massachusetts as a case study, this paper examines the extent to which unrestricted municipal aid is responsive to the variation in the underlying fiscal health of municipalities. The paper uses a measure of ?municipal gap??based on local economic and social characteristics outside the direct control of local officials?to indicate the underlying fiscal health of cities and towns. The analysis finds large disparities in municipal gaps among Massachusetts cities and towns, and that those disparities have increased in recent years. However, unrestricted municipal aid has not been highly correlated with municipal gaps. This pattern is partly due to large ad hoc cuts in state aid over the past 20 years. This paper suggests that the state consider adopting a gap-based formula that provides more aid to communities facing larger municipal gaps. Policymakers should carefully readjust policy parameters in the formula over time to maintain the political feasibility of the approach. The gap-based framework and policy suggestions are potentially applicable to other states.
Keywords: Municipal; finance; -; Massachusetts (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011, Revised 2011
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:fip:fedbcw:11-1
Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in New England Public Policy Center Working Paper from Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Catherine Spozio ().