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Yilin Hou headshot

Yilin Hou

Contact Information:


426 Eggers Hall

Office Hours:

By Appointment

Staff Support:

Zia Jackson


Yilin Hou

Professor, Public Administration and International Affairs Department

Senior Research Associate, Center for Policy Research

Senior Research Associate, Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs

Tenth Decade Faculty Scholar


Fall 2023

PAIA 810.001 Advanced Seminar in Public Budgeting, Wednesday 6:45-9:30, Online

Highest degree earned

Ph.D., Syracuse University, 2002


Yilin Hou is a professor of public administration and international affairs, a Tenth Decade Faculty Scholar, and a senior research associate in the Center for Policy Research. Hou’s field of expertise is public finance. His research interests are fiscal policy, public budgeting and intergovernmental fiscal relations as related to the core of development and governance.

Much of his research focuses on the smooth operation of government finance across the boom-bust cycles of the economy. He is particularly interested in researching rule-based, time-consistent fiscal policies that will contribute to how the government sector can tell whether the vicissitudes of economic fluctuations and other aspects of the society in order to provide smooth and stable public services and goods. 

Hou’s research has been funded by the University of Georgia Foundation (2006-2008), the Center for Industrial Development and Environmental Governance at Tsinghua University, Beijing (2007-2010, funding from the Toyota Corporation), the Stanley W. Shelton Professor Fund at the University of Georgia (2009-2013), the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Massachusetts (2012-2013, 2016-2017), the China Center for Fiscal Development (2013-2018, at the Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing), and state/local government contracts.

Hou is the editor of the "Development and Governance" book series and the "Studies in Public Budgeting (and Fiscal Policy)" book series, both by the Springer International. He also sits on the editorial board of several major academic journals in his field.

Yilin received a Ph. D. from Syracuse University in 2002.

Areas of Expertise

Countercyclical fiscal policy for state and local budget stabilization, budgetary and fiscal institutions

Research Interests

State and local taxation, especially property tax administration and design, public budgeting mechanisms and mechanics

Research Grant Awards and Projects

Principal Investigator. "International Comparative Study Conference on the Administration of the Real Property Tax: Generating Lessons for Reform and Improvement." Funded by Collaboration for Unprecedented Success and Excellence (CUSE) Grant Program. 2019-2022.

Principal Investigator. “Improving Local Property Tax Administration in New York State,” with Co-Principal Investigators John Yinger, Michael Wasylenko, and Minch Lewis. Funded by the Collaboration for Unprecedented Success and Excellence (CUSE) Grant Program. 2018-2020.

Principal Investigator. “Montgomery County Municipal Restructuring Fund Projects,” with Co-Principal Investigators Michael Wasylenko and Minch Lewis. Funded by a Services Agreement with Montgomery County, New York. 2018-2019.

Principal investigator. "Toward Long-Term Fiscal Sustainability: Identifying Successes and Potential Financial Uncertainties." Funded by San Diego County, California. 2015-2016.



Development, Governance, and Real Property Tax in China. Yilin Hou, Ping Zhang, Qiang Ren, and Haitao Ma (2018). Palgrave MacMillan.

"Research in Scheme Design of China’s Local Property Tax." Yilin Hou, Qiang Ren, and Haitao Ma. Beijing: Economic Science Press (2016). (《中国房地产税税制要素设计研究》).

"Local Government Budget Stabilization: Explorations and Evidence." Yilin Hou (Editor). New York: Springer (2015).

"The Property Tax in China: History, Pilots, and Prospects." Yilin Hou, Qiang Ren, and Ping Zhang. Science Press, Beijing, China (2014). New York: Springer. Chinese edition (《房产税在中国:历史、试点与探索》, 科学出版社 2014年), 

"State Government Budget Stabilization: Policy, Tools and Impacts." Yilin Hou. New York: Springer (2013).

Selected Journal Papers

An, Zhiyong and Yilin Hou (2019). “Debt Authority and Intentional Overstatement of Budgetary Deficit: Evidence from Chinese Provinces." International Tax & Public Finance (4). Doi: 10.1007/s10797-019-09561-w.

Zhang, Pengju and Yilin Hou (2019). “The Impact of Tax and Expenditure Limitations on User Fees and Charges in Local Government Finance: Evidence from New England.” Publius: The Journal of Federalism. Doi:10.1093/publius/pjz020. 

An, Zhiyong and Yilin Hou (2019). “Population Policy, Demographic Change, and Firm Returns: Evidence from China.” The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

"Business Cycles, Medicaid Generosity, and Birth Outcomes." Hamersma, Sarah, Hou, Yilin, Kim, Yusun and Wolf, Douglass (2018). Population Research and Policy Review, 37(5), 729-749. 

"Measuring the Financial Shocks of Natural Disasters: A Panel Study of U.S. States." Qing Miao, Yilin Hou, and Michael Abrigo. (2018). National Tax Journal 71(1): 11-44.

"Public Service Capitalization and Real Property Value: The Case for a Local Property Tax in China." Qiang Ren, Yilin Hou and Haitao Ma. Public Finance and Trade Economics 2017(12): 66-79 (in Chinese).

"Local Sales Tax Adoption in US Counties: Internal and External Forces." Jongmin Shon and Yilin Hou (2017). Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Finance Management, 29(3): 289-318.

“Ability to Pay Local Property Tax, Tax Burden Distribution and Redistributive Effects." Yilin Hou and Zhang, Ping,Economic Research (in Chinese), No. 12 (2016).

“An Theoretical Analysis of the Design Principles and Implementation Strategies of China’s Local Property Tax." Yilin Hou and Haitao Ma, Public Finance Research (in Chinese) No. 2 (2016), pp. 65-78.

“The Ability to Pay Local Property Tax by Chinese Urban Residents." Yilin Hou and Zhang, Ping, Journal of Public Administration (in Chinese) No. 2 (2016), pp. 136-55.

Fiscal Decentralization, Flat Administrative Structure, and Local Government Size: Evidence and Lessons from China." Yilin Hou, Zhang, Ping, and Chunkui Zhu, Public Administration and Development, No. 7 (2016). DOI:10.1002/pad.1762.

“An Evaluation of China’s New Rural Cooperative Medical System: Achievements and Inadequacies from Policy Goals." Yilin Hou, Li, Chengyue, Mei Sun and Mo Hao, Journal of BMC Public Health (2015). DOI: 10.1186/s12889-015-2410-1. 12889_2015_2410.

“Dissecting the Detroit Default: A Multi-Perspective Analysis.” Yilin Hou and Fletcher Montzingo, The Revue Francaise de Finances Publiques, (invited contribution) No. 4 (September 2015).

“The Savings Behavior of Special Purpose Governments: A Panel Study of New York School Districts.” William Duncombe, and Yilin Hou, Public Budgeting and Finance, Vol. 34 No. 3 (Fall 2014), pp. 1-23.

“Local Fiscal Responses to Procyclical Changes in State Aid.” Nguyen-Hoang, Phuong and Yilin Hou. Publius – Journal of Federalism, Vol. 44, No. 4 (Fall 2014), pp. 587-608.

“Local Sales Tax and Revenue Volatility.” Yilin Hou and Jason Seligman, Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice, Vol. XXIX, No. 1-3 (2013), pp. 167-180.

“Balanced Budget Requirements and State Spending: A Long Panel Study.” Daniel L. Smith and Yilin Hou, Public Budgeting and Finance, Vol. 33 No. 2 (June 2013), pp. 1-18.

“On the Development of Public-Private Partnerships in Transitional Economies – An Explanatory Framework.” Yongheng Yang, Yilin Hou and Youqiang Wang, Public Administration Review Vol. 73, No. 2 (March-April 2013), pp. 301-10.

"State Government Budget Stabilization: Policy, Tools and Impacts." Yilin HouNew York, Springer (2013).

“Local Fiscal Behavior under Subnational Provisions: Do Local Governments Smooth Revenue from Booms across Busts?” Yilin Hou, Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice, Vol. 28, No. 1 (2012), pp. 3-27.

“The Performance of Performance-Based Budgeting in Boom versus Bust Years: An Analytical Framework and Survey of the States." Yilin Hou, Robin Lunsford, Katy Sides, and Kelsey Jones, Public Administration Review (May-June, 2011), pp. 370-388.

“Informal Norms as a Bridge Between Formal Rules and Outcomes of Government Financial Operations – Evidence from State Balanced Budget Practices." Yilin Hou and Daniel L. Smith, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Vol. 20, No. 3 (September, 2010), pp. 655-678.

"Do State Balanced Budget Requirements Matter? - Testing Two Explanatory Frameworks." Yilin Hou and Daniel L. Smith, Public Choice, Vol. 145, No. 1 (2010), pp. 57-79.

"Pay-as-You-Go Financing and Capital Outlay Volatility-Evidence from the States over Two Recent Economic Cycles." Wen Wang and Yilin Hou, Public Budgeting & Finance, Vol. 29, No. 4 (December, 2009), pp. 90-107.

“State saving behavior: Effects of Two Fiscal and Budgetary Institutions." Yilin Hou and William Duncombe, Public Budgeting and Finance, Vol. 28, No. 3 (Fall, 2008), pp. 48-67.

"The Case for Counter-Cyclical Fiscal Capacity." Yilin Hou and Donald Moynihan, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Vol. 18, No. 1 (January, 2008), pp. 139-159.

“Budgeting for Fiscal Stability over the Business Cycle." Yilin Hou, Public Administration Review, Vol. 66, No. 5 (September/October, 2006), pp. 730-741.

“Fiscal Reserves and State Own-source Expenditure in Downturns." Yilin Hou, Public Finance Review, Vol. 33, No. 1 (January, 2005), pp. 117-144.

“Budget Stabilization Fund: Structural Features of the Enabling Legislation and Balance Level."  Yilin Hou, Public Budgeting and Finance, Vol24, No. 3 (September, 2004), pp. 38-64.

“What Stabilizes State General Fund Spending during Downturns: Budget Stabilization Fund, General Fund Unreserved Undesignated Balance, or Both?” Yilin Hou, Public Budgeting and Finance, Vol. 23, No. 3 (September, 2003), pp. 64-91.

“Evaluating City Financial Management using FRBS." Ammar Salwa, William Duncombe, Yilin Hou, and Ronald Wright, Public Budgeting and Finance, Vol. 21, No. 4 (Winter, 2001), pp. 70-90.