Last Updated: Jan 15, 2018


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Research Interests: State and local public finance; property taxation; fiscal zoning; public choice

Taxes formalize our obligations to each other. They define the inequalities we accept and those that we collectively seek to redress. They signify who is a member of our political community, how wide we draw the circle of “we.” They set the boundaries of what our governments can do. In the modern world, taxation is the social contract.
~Isaac William Martin, Ajay K.Mehrotra, and Monica Prasad in "The New Fiscal Sociology" (2009)

I view the public finance system a laboratory for testing social theory. That is, choices made over how to tax and spend reflect (at least partially) societal values and constraints. I particularly prefer to put the government itself at the center of the analysis in my work.

My research is featured in outlets like the National Tax Journal, Land Economics, Journal of Environmental Economics & Management, Public Finance Review, Southern Economic Journal, Public Budgeting & Finance, Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory, State Tax Notes, Contemporary Economic Policy, Journal of Housing Economics, Public Finance & Management and the Journal of Real Estate and Finance Economics.  


"Fiscal Zoning and Fiscal Externalities." (2018). Ross, Justin M. National Tax Journal 70(1):.

"Unfunded Mandates and Fiscal Structure: Empirical Evidence from a Synthetic Control Model." Ross, Justin M. (2018). Public Administration Review 78(1): 92-103.

"The Effect of Fiscal Illusion on Public Revenue: Evidence from Local Government Property Assessment." Ross, Justin M. and Sian Mughan. Forthcoming at Public Finance Review.

"The Labor Incidence of Capital Taxation: New Empirical Evidence from the Retail Sales Taxation of Manufacturing Machinery and Equipment."  (2017). Mikesell, John M. and Justin Ross. National Tax Journal 70(2): 257-94.

"Indiana's Property Tax Caps: Old Idea, New Approach, and Surprising Incentives." (2015). Ross, Justin M., Madeline Ferrell, and Kate Yang. Public Budgeting & Finance 35(4): 18-41.

"The Public Financing of America's Largest Cities: A Study of City Financial Records in the Wake of the Great Recession." (2015). Ross, Justin M., Wenli Yan, and Craig Johnson. Journal of Regional Science 55(1): 113-38.

"Could Land-Only Taxation Save Local Governments in Indiana?" (2015). Ross, Justin M. and Gyeoreh Lee. Journal of Public and Nonprofit Affairs 1(1): 29-42.

"State Revenue Forecasts and Political Acceptance: The Value of Consensus Forecasting in the Budget Process." (2014). Mikesell, John L. and Justin M. Ross. Public Administration Review 74(2): 188-203.

"Fiscal Illusion from Property Reassessment? An Empirical Test of the Residual View."*** (2013). Justin M. Ross and Wenli Yan. National Tax Journal 66(1): 7-32.

"A Socioeconomic Analysis of Property Assessment Uniformity: Empirical Evidence on the Role of Policy." (2013).  Justin M. Ross. Public Budgeting & Finance 33(1): 49-75.

"Frictions in Polycentric Administration with Non-Congruent Borders: Evidence from Ohio School District Class Sizes" (2014)Justin M. Ross, Joshua C. Hall, and William Resh. Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory 24(3): 623-49doi: 10.1093/jopart/mus90 

"Are Community-Nuisance Fiscal Zoning Arrangements Undermined by State Property Tax Reforms? Evidence from Nuclear Power Plants and School Finance Equalization." (2013). Justin M. Ross. Land Economics 89(3): 449-65.

"School District Income Taxes: New Revenue or a Property Tax Substitute?" (2013). Justin M. Ross and Phuong H. Nguyen. Public Budgeting & Finance 33(2): 19-40.

"Strategic Tax Planning for State Tax Amnesties: Evidence from Eligibility Period Restrictions." (2013). Justin M. Ross and Neal W. Buckwalter. Public Finance Review 41(3): 275-301.

"Fast Money? The Contribution of State Tax Amnesties to Public Revenue Systems." John L. Mikesell and Justin M. Ross. (2012). National Tax Journal 65(3): 529-62.

"Interjurisdictional Determinants of Property Assessment Regressivity." Justin M. Ross. Land Economics (February 2012), Vol. 88, Issue 1: 28-42.

"Local Government Property Tax Amnesty Programs: Structures and Themes." Justin M. Ross. (2012.) Public Finance and Management 12(2): 146-173.

"Revealed Preference for Relative Status: Evidence from the Housing Market.Susane J. Leguizamon and Justin Ross. (2012). Journal of Housing Economics 21: 55-65.

"Robustness and Vulnerability of Community Irrigation Systems: The Case of the Taos Valley Acequias." Michael E. Cox and Justin M. Ross. (2011). Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 61(3): 254-66.

"Assessor Incentives and Property Assessment."** Ross, J.M. (2011). Southern Economic Journal 77(3): 776-94.

"Inconsistency in Welfare Inferences from Distance Variables in Hedonic Regressions.Ross, J.M., Michael Farmer, and Cliff Lipscomb.  (2011).  Journal of Real Estate and Finance Economics 43 (3): 385-400.  FAQ's.

"Tiebout Competition, Yardstick Competition, and Tax Instrument Choice: Evidence from Ohio School Districts." Joshua C. Hall and Justin M. Ross. (2010). Public Finance Review 38(6): 710-37.

"Does State Spending on Mental Health Lower Suicide Rates?" Justin M. Ross, Pavel Yakovlev, and Fatima Carson. (2012). Journal of Socio-Economics. 41(4): 408-417.

"Do Surveys of Experts Provide Unbiased Judgments? Evidence from College Football Rankings" Justin M. Ross, Sarah Larson, and Chad Wall.  (2012). Contemporary Economic Policy 50(4): 502-522.

"New Empirical Estimates of Rent-Seeking: An Update of Sobel and Garrett [2002]." (2009).  Joshua C. Hall and Justin M. Ross.  Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice 27(2-3): 125-136.

"What Should Policy Makers Know When Economists Say "Market" Failure?" Ross, J.M. (2009). Georgetown Public Policy Review, 14(1), pp. 27-32.

 "A Theoretical Model of the Distribution of Teacher Attention Under Benchmark Testing." Ross, J.M. (2008). Economics Bulletin 9(29), pp. 1-8.

Income Tax Responsiveness of the Rich: Evidence from Free Agent MLB All-Stars.* Ross, J.M. and Robert Dunn. (2007). Contemporary Economic Policy 25(4), pp. 639-48.  Ungated Version.  DATA


"Do Local Governments Site Nuisance Activities Along Borders? A Empirical Strategy Applied to Wind Turbines." (with Sanya Carley)

"The Impact of State Taxes on Pass-Through Businesses: Evidence from the 2012 Kansas Income Tax Reform." (with Jason Debacker, Bradley T. Heim, & Shanthi P. Ramnath). Revise & Resubmit at Journal of Public Economics.

"Sales Tax Holidays: Evidence on Incidence.(with Felipe Lozano-Rojas).


"The Affordable Care Act and Local Government Finances" (with Vicki Perez and Kosali Simon)

"Does the Federal Budget Process Matter for Fiscal Sustainability?" (with Denvil Duncan and John L. Mikesell)

"A Test of the Ferguson-TEL Hypothesis" (with Sian Mughan)

"Real Property Taxation: The Definition of Property Values as a Problem of Fiscal Policy" (with John Mikesell)

"The Ideological Divide Between State & Local Governments and TEL Constraints"(with John Stavick).

"The Third Law of Demand: Evidence from Cigarette Excise Taxes"(with Felipe Lozano-Rojas & John Stavick).

"Household Consumption Profiles During State School Tax Holidays"(with Felipe Lozano-Rojas).

"The Effect of Homeowner Mobility on Racial Segregation: Empirical Evidence from Florida" (with Sarah Larson)


"Welfare Effects of Selective Taxation: Economic Efficiency as a Normative Principle." (2018). Ross, Justin M. In For Your Own Good Good: Taxes, Paternalism, and Fiscal Discrimination in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Adam J. Hoffer and Todd Nesbit, The Mercatus Center.

Carbon Tax Guide : A Handbook for Policy Makers. (2017). World Bank, Washington, DC.  

"State Tax Amnesty: How a Standard Feature of American State Tax Administration Has Changed Over Thirty Years." Mikesell, John L. and Justin M. Ross. (2013).  State Tax Notes 67(7): 481-95.

"Local Government Lessons from Amnesty Programs for Property Tax Delinquents." Justin M. Ross. Forthcoming in Government Finance Review.

"Amnesty for Property Tax Delinquents?" Justin M. Ross. State Tax Notes 68(12): 919-28.

"Controversies in Property Assessment." Justin M. Ross and Denvil R. Duncan. (2012). Papers and Proceedings of the 105th Annual Conference on Taxation: 120-23

"Property Taxes and Polycentricity." Ross, Justin M. and Daniel Hummel. (2012). In The Annual Proceedings of the Wealth and Well-Being of Nations Volume IV 2011-2012, edited by Emily Chamlee-Wright.

"`Will You Stop That Infernal Racket!?!' Externalities and The Simpsons." In Homer Economicus: The Simpsons and Economics. Edited by Joshua C. Hall, forthcoming (Stanford University Press).

"When It Comes to Taxes: Focus on Being Competitive." Ross, J.M. and J.C. Hall. Chapter 5 in Unleashing Capitalism: Why Prosperity Stops at the West Virginia Border and How to Fix It, edited by Russell Sobel, 2007.

"Getting It Right: Where University Systems Lose Information in Designing Programs." Ross, J.M. In Doing More With Less: Making Colleges Work Better. Edited by Joshua C. Hall. Springer (2010).

"Managing the Internal Organization of Colleges and Universities." M. Holian and J.M. Ross. In Doing More With Less: Making Colleges Work Better. Edited by Joshua C. Hall. Springer (2010).

"U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development." J.C. Hall and J.M. Ross in Booms and Busts: An Economics Encyclopedia, Mehmet Odekon (ed), M.E. Sharpe, forthcoming.

"When It Comes to Taxes in South Carolina: Focus on Being Competitive."  Ross, J.M., Joshua C. Hall, Peter T. Calcagno.  Chapter 4 in Unleashing Capitalism: A Prescription for Economic Prosperity in South Carolina, edited by Peter T. Cacagno, (2009).


"Gross Receipts Taxes: Theory and Recent Evidence." Justin M. Ross. (2016). Tax Foundation Fiscal Fact No. 529.

"Indiana's Property Tax Caps: Effects on Equity, Service Delivery, and Tax Competitiveness.By Justin M. Ross and Caitlin Cheek. (2015). Issue Brief for the Fiscal Benchmarking Project.

"A Primer on State and Local Tax Policy: Trade-Offs Among Tax Instruments." (2014). Published by the Mercatus Center.

"Fiscal Analysis for Lake County, Indiana." Justin M. Ross and Madeline Dinges. 

"Property Tax Amnesty." by Justin M. Ross (June 26, 2012). Policy opinion memo prepared for the state legislature of Ohio.

"The Elective Zoning Proposal." By Justin M. Ross (February 2, 2012). Policy opinion memo prepared for Bonner County (Idaho) government.

"The Business Case for Product Philanthropy." Justin Ross and Kellie McGiverin-Bohan. Published by Good360.


"Book Review: Youngman, Joan. (2016). A Good Tax: Legal and Policy Issues for the Property Tax in the United States." Ross, J.M. (2017). National Tax Journal 70(1).

"Book Review: Audretsch, David B., Flack, Oliver, & Heblich, Stephan (Eds.) (2009). Innovation and Entrepreneurship." Ross, J.M. (2009). The Review of Regional Studies. 39(2): 227-237.