Abstract

This paper examines whether the voter with the median income is decisive in local spending decisions. Previous tests have relied on cross-sectional data while we make use of a pair of California referenda to estimate a first difference specification. The referenda proposed to lower the required vote share for passing local educational bonding initiatives from 67 to 50 percent and 67 to 55 percent, respectively. The jurisdiction median income appears to accurately capture the expected outcomes of majority votes on public service spending, and voters rationally consider such future public service decisions when deciding how to vote on voting rules.

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