The Curley Effect

by Russ Roberts on May 4, 2012

in Politics

David Henderson writes about the Curley Effect–the idea that it is in the interest of politicians to pursue policies that punish those who don’t vote for them, encouraging them to leave the jurisdiction. It is a creepy and provocative post–read it.

It reminded me of a recent conversation I had with a very nice woman sitting next to me on a flight to California. We were talking about California’s fiscal problems and she suggested that the state should raise taxes on the rich. I pointed out that a lot of people had left California for lower-tax states like Nevada and Arizona and that raising taxes would encourage even more people to leave. Her reply was “Good riddance! Let them go!” I suggested that that might make the funding problem a little more challenging than it already was. She was eager to be free of people whose political views she found unappealing and who didn’t want to support programs she believed were important. But someone has to pay for those programs. California is in trouble and the Curley Effect is going to make it worse.

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