JPNA’s Best Paper Award (2017): Study of TELs

The Journal of Public & Nonprofit Affairs announced at the Midwest Public Affairs Conference that the winner of Best Paper in JPNA for last year was “Research on the Effects of Limitations on Taxes and Expenditures” by Judith Stallmann (UM – Truman), Craig Maher (UNO – SPA), Steven Deller (UW-Madison), and Sungho Park* (UNO – SPA).

The paper is a history and literature review on Tax-Expenditure Limits in the United States. If you were asked to nominate a team of authors to write such a survey, you could hardly do better than this group. In addition to publishing often on the effects of TELs, Stallmann et al. have made it something of a career mission to produce ever improved measures of how stringent TELs actually are on governments so that researchers can do something other than dummy variables. This is an incredibly difficult task, as the authors lay out in extended detail. Consequently, they generally recommend readers take a caveat emptor approach to reading studies on the effects of TELs on a variety of government behavior.

The paper should very quickly become the go-to citation for authors of TEL research in order to get up to speed on the history and literature of TEL effects. For a related paper on competing theories for why voters may seek to constrain themselves through TELs, I would recommend Vigdor’s (2004) “Other People’s Taxes” in JLE.

*Sungho Park’s CV lists May 2018 for expected dissertation defense date with seven published peer reviewed articles in English journals since 2016.

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