A method of evaluating the impact of economic change on the services of local governments

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Virginia Tech

This study seeks a method of evaluating the local impact of changing economic conditions (such as employment, per capita income, et cetera). Specifically, measures of the impact of changing economic conditions on the services of local governments will be formulated. These measures provide a means for comparing the impact of a project (or of alternative projects) to conditions that would prevail in its (their) absence.

The data used is drawn from the Virginia Impact Projection (VIP) Model in the form of statistically derived equations representing the relationships for eleven different categories of public services. The analytical framework was developed based on theories of public decision-making, public finance, and local government expenditures and services. This framework was used to analyze the per capita expenditure relationships (functions) to obtain the information required in formulating the impact measures.

For individual categories of services, a SERVICE VALUE INDEX was devised to indicate changes (including shifts) in the demand for the services, and the level of provision thereof. The NET PUBLIC SERVICE BENEFIT is a measure of the overall increase (decline) in public services provision, and balances the change in levels of service on the individual categories against each other. This measure reflects the net benefits derived by the consumer-voter following her/his reallocation of expenditures given the new cost conditions, budget constraints, et cetera, as a consequence of the project.

fiscal impact analysis