The effects of voter control on budget outcomes

Carol Ebdon (Department of Public Administration at the University of Nebraska at Omaha)

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management

ISSN: 1096-3367

Publication date: 1 March 2000


This study analyzes the effects of budget referenda on spending levels. An agency theory framework is used to identify the incentives of voters and school boards, and to discuss the use of the referendum as a budget control mechanism. The regression analysis compares expenditures in New York State school districts with and without referenda requirements. Total spending is found to be 5.5% higher in districts without referenda, ceteris parabis. However, the specific rules related to referenda and budget defeats appear to be important determinants of their effectiveness.


Ebdon, C. (2000), "The effects of voter control on budget outcomes", Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 23-43.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000 by PrAcademics Press

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