local government

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

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

July 25, 2018 // 1 Comment

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

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

July 3, 2018 // 0 Comments

Running Local: Gender Stereotyping & Female Candidates in Local Elections

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

June 19, 2018 // 0 Comments

Taking a Risk: Explaining the Use of Complex Debt Finance by the Chicago Public Schools

Amanda Kass, Martin J. Luby, and Rachel Weber | For most of the 20th century, the municipal securities market was a sleepy backwater where governments went to raise money for roads, bridges, and wastewater systems. Most cities financed their infrastructure with debt that relied on conservative or well-seasoned market structures.  At the end of the century, however, local governments entered a period of “entrepreneurial” finance as federal support for urban development declined. In the years leading up to the global financial crisis, many US governments began utilizing new bond structures and riskier financial instruments to, potentially, lower borrowing costs. Read More

March 21, 2018 // 0 Comments

Can British Columbia be a Model for US Regional Governance?

Hal Wolman | Local government fragmentation in US metropolitan regions has been widely recognized as a critical problem with seriously adverse consequences impeding the ability of the region to engage in actions that would be beneficial to the region as a whole.  Despite this recognition, the problem has proven nearly impervious to effective solutions, although partial remedies such as single-purpose regional special districts, inter-local agreements, and planning and discussion forums such as Councils of Government (COGs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) abound.  Yet in many other countries – including most proximately Canada in the province of British Columbia – the widespread use of multi-purpose regional special districts provides a possible model for a successful and improved response to regional governance in the U.S.  The Canadian model, in particular, appears to address effectively the major roadblock to regional governance in the U.S., namely the fear of local governments that they will lose their autonomy and not be able to pursue their own interests in the presence of a regional government institution. Read More

November 17, 2017 // 0 Comments

Public Service Provision and Urban Stratification in Shanghai

Huiping Li | The interaction between public service provision of local governments and housing market can reinforce each other and polarize the socioeconomic space in this global city, Shanghai, even though the governance system is centralized instead of fragmented as in the US. Therefore, how to balance between different types of public expenditure within local governments has significant social and economic implications. Read More

November 13, 2017 // 0 Comments