This Note will argue that, when looking at the quality of a school district, there is some theoretical threshold that determines whether the use of local property tax and zoning by a local government will be effective in increasing the quality of the locality’s schools. This theoretical threshold is conceptually akin to the basic economic idea of a poverty trap. If a locality’s schools are above this quality threshold, the corresponding local government will be able to effectively utilize property taxes and zoning to increase the quality of its schools. However, if it is below the threshold, the local government will not be able to increase the quality of schools by only using property taxes and zoning. It is these districts that need additional, external support to improve the quality of the schools and therefore improve the economic outlook for their students.
It is important to note that this Note will lay out the theoretical foundation of this economic model. The model has not been empirically verified with real life examples from school districts and local governments today. As a result, there remains room for additional literature to build upon this Note’s model. Primarily, there is an opportunity for significant empirical studies to test the legitimacy of the model, and hopefully further studies and literature will be completed to build upon this idea and model.
Nikhil A. Gulati,
It’s a Trap: A New Economic Model Addressing American Public Education,
Notre Dame L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.nd.edu/ndlr/vol97/iss1/11