Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Chambers College of Business and Economics



Committee Chair

Santiago Pinto.


This dissertation is composed of three essays in which each examine the response to taxation while carefully considering the role of space. In the first essay, I examine the behavior of property tax assessors among local governments to uncover sources of assessment bias. While typically not a formulator of policy, property assessors are likely sensitive to political incentives as they are either directly elected to their office or appointed by another elected official. This essay searches for sources of this pressure via its in influence on the assessment-to-sale price ratio from Virginia cities and counties in 2004. Among the more significant findings are that elected assessors underassess property more than their appointed counterparts, that assessors attempt to export the property tax onto commercial property, fiscal stress tends to induce higher assessments, and positive spatial autocorrelation exists suggesting that residents look to their neighbors in determining the accuracy of their assessments.;The second essay examines the responsiveness of the rich to state income taxes. Since distance is likely a relatively small transaction cost for high-income groups, states with greater personal income taxes are likely assuming larger deadweight losses or shifting the burden to the corporate sector. We use MLB free agents who were named All-Stars at some point in their career and who signed with a U.S. team for the 1991 through 2002 seasons. This data set overcomes some of the previous difficulties encountered in similar studies but also has limitations representing the general rich population. We find evidence that the wages of this subset of players do adjust to offset the burden of state income taxes, specifically a one percent decrease in net-of-tax rate leads to a 3.3 percent increase in salary.;The final essay examines the spatial tenure choice decision, i.e. the dual decision of where to live as well as whether to rent or own. While previous literature has looked these decisions in isolation from each other, our work is the first to combine the decision without making assumptions about preferences, amenities, or zoning. Our model focuses on the trade-off between transportation costs, maintenance costs, the tax treatment of housing, and end-of-life wealth as points of consideration. We also extend the model to incorporate different income groups in which wealthier households receive larger tax savings from ownership. To contrast our model with reality, we offer an empirical analysis of the spatial tenure choice using a multinomial logit regression.