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Economies of Scale in Property Tax Assessment

Sjoquist, David L. and Walker, Mary Beth

Abstract:

We estimate the costs of performing property tax as-sessments using a translog cost function over a sample of 138 county-level assessment offices in Georgia. We find that there are substantial economies of scale. For example, computed at the sample means, a ten percent increase in the volume of assessments results in an increase of approximately three percent in total costs. The model considers both the number of parcels and the value of parcels as alternate measures of volume; both measures give similar results. We also estimate a two-product cost function, with residential and nonresidential property assessment as the different outputs. These results show no evidence of economies of scope, and calculated economies of scale are very close to the single output results.

Citation

Sjoquist, David L. and Walker, Mary Beth (1999), Economies of Scale in Property Tax Assessment, National Tax Journal, 52:2, pp. 207-20