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Frictions in Polycentric Administration with Non-Congruent Borders: Evidence from Ohio School District Class Sizes

44 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2012 Last revised: 30 Dec 2012

Justin M. Ross

Indiana University - School of Public & Environmental Affairs

Joshua C. Hall

West Virginia University

William G. Resh

University of Southern California; Indiana University - School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Date Written: January 6, 2012

Abstract

Public managers who operate within cross-jurisdictional governance regimes face substantial difficulties in facilitating network collaboration. Scholars have long suggested that non-congruence of geographic borders can create coordination problems among the political communities within polycentric administrative units. A frequently reoccurring example of such coordination problems arises in cases where municipalities and school districts have non-congruent borders, creating fiscal externalities in residential development land use decisions. Using GIS data from 611 Ohio school districts and 1,585 municipalities in 2000, we calculate the degree of non-congruence between school district and municipal territory to test for evidence that non-congruence of municipal-school district borders influences school district class size. The results indicate that schools with non-congruent borders do experience substantively larger class sizes. Furthermore, these effects seem to increase with the degree of non-congruence. Our findings are robust to model specification and consistent across OLS and treatment effects regression estimates. Policy implications for state-encouraged consolidation of school districts are discussed as well as theoretical and empirical implications of non-congruent jurisdictional borders for governance studies more generally.

Keywords: congruency, public education, polycentrism

JEL Classification: I21, I28, R12

Suggested Citation

Ross, Justin M. and Hall, Joshua C. and Resh, William G., Frictions in Polycentric Administration with Non-Congruent Borders: Evidence from Ohio School District Class Sizes (January 6, 2012). Forthcoming, Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory; Indiana University, Bloomington: School of Public & Environmental Affairs Research Paper No. 2012-01-01. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1980843 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1980843

Justin M. Ross (Contact Author)

Indiana University - School of Public & Environmental Affairs ( email )

1315 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Joshua C. Hall

West Virginia University ( email )

Morgantown, WV 26506
United States

William G. Resh

University of Southern California ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90089-0626
United States

HOME PAGE: http://priceschool.usc.edu/william-g-resh/

Indiana University - School of Public and Environmental Affairs ( email )

1315 East 10th Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

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