Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Happy Birthday to Charles Tiebout!

Here is his Wikipedia page, and here is his internet museum at the University of Washington. Here is Fischel's "Footloose at Fifty" essay in honor of his 1956 classic A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures. Note that the title is a parody of Paul Samuelson's theory of public expenditures, which was published in 1954. In political science, he is just as well known for his 1961 piece with Vincent Ostrom and Robert Warren on polycentricity in metropolitan areas, where they argue against the metropolitan form of public administration favored at the time ("Gargantua" as they refer to it).

His 1956 piece has about 8,000 citations according to Google Scholar, and it is from this piece that "Tiebout Competition" emerges as a basic theory of local government. The idea of Tiebout Competition is so well known that his original paper is probably not read by a large fraction of the authors who cite it, which accounts for the significant number of papers which somewhat inappropriately cite Tiebout (1956) as actually claiming that local governments will compete on the basis of public good provision and taxes.

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