2009/33: Sharing the blame? Local electoral accountability and centralized school finance in California
While electoral accountability should be stronger when responsibilities are clearly assigned to one political office, the involvement of higher tiers of government is often associated with policies specifically designed to improve local accountability. This paper investigates the impact of centralization on local electoral accountability in the context of California’s school finance system. Results show that voters are responsive to differences in dropout rates and pupil-teacher ratios, and that incumbents are less likely to be reelected when a district’s degree of centralization is high. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 appears to have sharpened local electoral accountability.