All Forum Posts

Employer Responses to a City-Level Minimum Wage Mandate: Early Evidence from Seattle

September 14, 2018 // 0 Comments

Jennifer L. Romich | Since 2012, more than 30 cities or counties have raised local minimum wages above the federal standard of $7.25 per hour. New wage laws have taken effect in large urban centers such as Los Angeles, New York City, and Chicago, and smaller cities such as Las Cruces, New Mexico and Tacoma, Washington. Advocates for minimum wage laws suggest that such measures will raise wages, reduce income inequality, and make low-wage workers better off; critics counter that higher wages may lead firms to reduce employment, ultimately making workers as a class worse off. Read More

State Government Preemption of Local Government Decisions Through the State Courts

September 5, 2018 // 0 Comments

Jeffrey Swanson and Charles Barrilleaux | Why do state governments preempt local government policies? Devolution is often embraced as a normatively desirable policy goal, as it expands local autonomy and allows for policies to be tailor-made to the needs of a sub-unit’s constituents. Although decentralization has been at the forefront of the states’ rights movement, there has been limited state-level support for decentralization to the local-level. States have granted local governments some autonomy through home rule and enabling legislation but doing so involves a trade-off between the efficiency of internal policy production and potential delegation costs. Disputes between local and state governments are likely to occur when local residents have ideological preferences that differ from those of state officials. This is because local governments are more likely to implement policies that contradict state interests, but the ability for local governments to engage in policy making depends on the level of local autonomy given by the state government. The preemption process is a way for state governments to limit local autonomy, either through statute or in state courts through legal challenges of local ordinances. Read More

UAR Best Paper Award at APSA 2018

August 31, 2018 // 0 Comments

Urban Affairs Review is sponsoring a $250 award for the Best Paper in Urban or Regional Politics presented at the 2018 American Political Science Association conference. We encourage chairs of all Urban and Local Politics Section panels to nominate papers. We also welcome self-nominations. Papers presented on any panel associated with the conference are eligible for this award.

Read More

Gendered Gentrification in Hong Kong: The Role of Women in Shaping One of the Most Unaffordable Urban Housing Markets

August 9, 2018 // 0 Comments

Minting Ye and Igor Vojnovic | In a recent Urban Affairs Review article we explore how women have been impacting the social and physical upgrading of neighborhoods in one of the most competitive property markets in the world. In 2016, the most expensive apartment in Asia sold in Hong Kong for US$117 million, breaking the old record that was set in that city a year earlier. At the other end of the market spectrum, purchasing an entry-level apartment is also costly, with units as small as 163 square feet selling for $500,000. Being one of the most expensive global real estate markets ensures that space is at a premium. Micro-apartments ranging between 28 square feet to 40 square feet—a fraction of the size of a parking spot—are available across the city. Read More

Light-rail Investment in Seattle: Gentrification Pressures and Trends in Neighborhood Ethnoracial Composition

July 31, 2018 // 0 Comments

Chris Hess | Public infrastructure has always shaped patterns of metropolitan growth and residential segregation. Street-car lines, followed by highways, created important corridors from cities out into the so-called “Crabgrass Frontier” (Jackson 1985). New access to undeveloped suburban areas combined with government-insured mortgages with low down-payments generated vast opportunities for housing construction. However, through much of the 20th century “redlining”, discriminatory housing covenants, and exclusionary zoning maintained a system of residential stratification preventing racial and ethnic minorities from moving outward to burgeoning suburbs. Consequently, many urban neighborhoods became racially-segregated, faced disinvestment due to housing policy favoring lending to suburban contexts, and experienced increasing “mismatch” from suburban employment growth. Read More

Order out of Chaos: The Case for a New Conceptualization of the Cross-Boundary Instruments of American Regionalism

July 25, 2018 // 0 Comments

David Miller and Jen Nelles | American regions are made up of interdependent local governments. Their interdependencies stem from the fact that many problems, opportunities, and issues routinely ignore and transcend the clear jurisdictional boundaries between neighboring cities, counties, and towns. Figuring out how to work across those boundaries has proved both elusive and a challenging.  That said, state and local governments have, over time, awkwardly, and with much experimenting, developed mechanisms of regional governance.   Read More

Sanctuary Cities: Attitudes Towards Collaboration Between Local Law Enforcement and Federal Immigration Authorities

July 16, 2018 // 0 Comments

Jason P. Casellas and Sophia J. Wallace | Due to the stall in immigration reform at the federal level, there has been a rapid increase in state-level immigration policies over the last 15 years. Some states pursued restrictionist policies aimed at limiting immigrants’ rights and increasing immigration enforcement, such as Arizona through SB 1070, while others have sought to expand and protect immigrant rights, such as California in declaring the entire state a sanctuary. During the 2016 campaign and in his presidency, Donald Trump repeatedly promised increasing restrictive immigration policies aimed at reducing the number of undocumented immigrants, massive deportations, building a wall on the U.S-Mexico border, and imposing harsh penalties on immigrants. Read More

Fiscal Secession (or How Local Special Assessments are Exacerbating Service Inequality)

July 3, 2018 // 0 Comments

Mathew D. McCubbins and Ellen C. Seljan | Local governments across the United States often find themselves needing to seek out new revenue sources, particularly in the face of state limitations on taxation.  Our research examines the usage of special assessments, a particularly popular, but understudied source of local revenues, in the state of California. Today, special assessments are commonly used to back local infrastructure projects and provide growing number of public services, from local fire and police protection to street maintenance and repair. Read More

Shifting Agendas: Private Consultants and Public Planning Policy

June 27, 2018 // 0 Comments

Orly Linovski | Urban planning is often thought of as a public sector activity, despite the increasing role and influence of private-sector consultants. Consultants are involved in many stages of the planning process, including undertaking policy reviews; creating long-range plans and strategies; and, designing and implementing public engagement strategies. Planning consultants often straddle the private and public spheres, working for both government and private clients. This raises questions about how private-sector planners balance competing goals, as well as the democratic legitimacy and accountability of the planning processes they undertake. While consultants have been involved in planning since the early days of the profession, the reduced capacity that many municipalities currently face makes it critical to examine the impacts that outsourcing and privatization may have on planning processes. For local governments that have traditionally seen planning as a public-sector activity, these changes can undermine both the public interest and the relationship between citizens and decision-makers. Read More

Running Local: Gender Stereotyping & Female Candidates in Local Elections

June 19, 2018 // 0 Comments

Nichole Bauer | The 2018 mid-term elections will be a banner year for women in politics. In fact, as many as 421 women could launch a campaign for a seat in the U.S. House. Even more women will run for office at the local level. In research recently published in Urban Affairs Review, I examined whether female candidates running in local elections will face a gender bias or a gender advantage among voters. Using two original survey experiments, I find that female candidates do not necessarily have an automatic advantage in a local election. Female candidates, however, will have an advantage when they emphasize positive masculine traits that voters value in political leaders. Read More