NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Government Form and Public Spending: Theory and Evidence from U.S. Municipalities

Stephen Coate, Brian Knight

NBER Working Paper No. 14857
Issued in April 2009
NBER Program(s):   PE   POL

There are two main forms of government in U.S. cities: council-manager and mayor-council. This paper develops a theory of fiscal policy determination under these two forms. The theory predicts that expected public spending will be lower under mayor-council, but that either form of government could be favored by a majority of citizens. The latter prediction means that the theory is consistent with the co-existence of both government forms. Support for the former prediction is found in both a cross-sectional analysis and a panel analysis of changes in government form.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14857

Published: Stephen Coate & Brian Knight, 2011. "Government Form and Public Spending: Theory and Evidence from US Municipalities," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 82-112, August.

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