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Population Shifts and Discrete Public Services: Rationing Rules and the Support for Public Goods

Todd Cherry, Stehpen J. Cotten, Michael McKee

Cities with declining populations face increasing per-capita costs to maintain discrete public goods—those with fixed costs that cannot be easily scaled to demand. Likewise, growing cities may face decreasing benefits from congestible public goods. In either case, there are two policy actions: limit access (ration) or expand output (higher revenues per person required). We report the results of a series of experiments designed to investigate the effect of alternative rationing rules on the propensity for individuals to support increases in taxes to overcome congestion externalities or decreases in the tax base.

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