Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Agricultural Economics

First Advisor

Raymond J.G.M Florax

Second Advisor

Larry P. DeBoer

Committee Chair

Raymond J.G.M Florax

Committee Co-Chair

Larry P. DeBoer

Committee Member 1

Brigette S Waldorf

Committee Member 2

Marilyn A Hirth


Three essays focus on the various measurements of school quality and its importance in motivating people's location choices, their interest in school improvement, and their ability to fund additional school expenditures. The first essay examines hedonic housing price studies to dissect the mixed evidence on whether school quality affects housing prices. The chapter employs meta-regression analysis on 48 studies and finds that studies which measured school quality using any of eight measures, including educational expenditures, tend to find a positive correlation with housing prices. Additionally, published studies tend to find a higher correlation than unpublished studies. The second essay aims to remove the endogeneity bias between educational expenditures and inmigration with generalized propensity score methods. We restrict the study period to 2006–2010 and our focus to the population aged 25–49 years. We find that increases in educational expenditures have a positive effect on inmigration to U.S. counties up to $7,000 but a generally flat effect beyond that. The third essay examines education tax referenda, which school districts propose to taxpayers to attain funding additional to their state-allocated funds. The chapter examines educational finance using sample selection methods to correct for school district decisions to enter the referenda proposal process and finds that few school districts take advantage of educational tax referenda, with rural school districts being more likely to do so than urban school districts. Additionally, the results suggest that racial diversity, competition from private schools and school district size significantly affect proposal and approval of referenda across rural and urban school districts.