Returns to Scale in Property Assessment: Evidence from New York State’s Small Localities Coordination Program
Yusun Kim, Yilin Hou, John Yinger
National Tax Journal, February 2023
John M. Yinger
New York State (NYS) incentivizes cities and towns to merge their Tax Assessor’s Offices while maintaining separate taxing authority. This paper treats cooperative agreements among small tax-assessing jurisdictions in NYS as a natural experiment to explore economies of parcel scale in property assessment.
Using 2003–2014 data, we estimate these scale economies using cost-function models with control functions. Our results show consistent evidence of economies of parcel scale, holding quality constant. Local governments can save personnel, operational, and contractual costs by collaborating with nearby localities in conducting property assessments.
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