ABFM Doctoral Student Profile: Kattalina Berriochoa

In preparation for ABFM’s upcoming conference in Denver, I am doing a series of profiles on the doctoral students on the job market.

Kattalina Berriochoa (McCormack Graduate School of Policy & Global Studies, UMass-Boston) is presenting “Analyzing Micro-Logic: Why Public Spending on Education Varies Across the Urban Rural Divide” in the 9:45 session on Friday. She presented a similar work at Georgia State’s “Next Generation Public Finance” conference back in the spring. Her dissertation explores how place (particularly urban, rural, suburban places) shapes preferences of the individual for redistributive financing.  Here is the abstract on one of her dissertation essays, “Public Finance for Schools: Analyzing Collective Preferences Across Place“:

The persistent urban-rural divide creates a host of economic disadvantages and interstate inequalities, including but not limited to funding variation for public education. This study provides an analysis local bond elections in Texas, with a focus on the urban and rural divide. This analysis shows that that odds and probability of passing a school bond can differ across place. The focus on place is to analyze the occurrence of preference variation where individuals do not always collectively demand more from government but rather often reject more spending on public goods. First, using data collected on over 2,000 bond elections in the state of Texas over the years 2000-2016, logistical regression models are estimated to determine the factors associated with the likelihood of passing a school district bond by local district election. Second, I analyze how collective preferences may be shaped differently across place with the employment of the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition model. I find that across place (urban and rural), the effect of income has a relatively neutral impact. Across place, the increase of median age over time has a negative impact on the probability of passing a bond election and the increase of diversity among students in public schools is found to increase the likelihood of bond passage. This final effect of race is most substantial in rural places. Generally, I find that the impact of variables in the urban and rural model behave in similar directions. Variation results from the magnitude of effects, where parameters are found to hold larger sway in more rural places, compared to urban counterparts. I find additional support for this finding with the employment of a decomposition model, which finds that when the key variables are taken into account, the magnitude of age, income, and race differ considerably on the collective preferences of voters regarding bond elections across place. The goal of this study is to highlight the way in which preferences are shaped by place and how that may feed back into the distribution of funding for public goods.

Berriochoa’s work on public opinion, public finance, and what drives diverging preferences between urban and rural communities sounds informative to understanding national politics at large. She lists additional works in progress on gender diversity in local government leadership, and the role of professional identity and legitimacy of leaders in government regulation. She has a paper under review that examines media consumption by the Basque Diaspora in the United States. In addition to her works in progress, Berriochoa describes an interest in language policy and teaches Basque, and has several publications related to teaching.

Find more of Kattalina Berriochoa’s research, teaching, and interests here.

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