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Do Cities and Counties Attempt to Circumvent Changes in Their Autonomy by Creating Special Districts?

29 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2017  

Christopher B. Goodman

University of Nebraska at Omaha

Suzanne LeLand

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte

Date Written: March 7, 2017

Abstract

This study uses forty years of data from the US Census of Governments to examine the impact of changes in local autonomy on the creation of special districts, the most popular and fastest growing form of local government in the U.S. Using a fixed effects negative binomial regression specified at the urban county and MSA level, we find that restrictions of fiscal autonomy of cities is associated with creation of new special districts. The magnitude of this finding is amplified when limits on fiscal autonomy are paired with grants of functional autonomy. We find no analogous effects for county governments. These two findings are consistent with the circumvention argument made in the local autonomy literature.

Keywords: Special Districts, Home Rule, Tax and Expenditure Limitations, Local Governments

Suggested Citation

Goodman, Christopher B. and LeLand, Suzanne, Do Cities and Counties Attempt to Circumvent Changes in Their Autonomy by Creating Special Districts? (March 7, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2928976

Christopher Goodman (Contact Author)

University of Nebraska at Omaha ( email )

6001 Dodge Street
Omaha, NE 68182
United States

SUZANNE LELAND

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte

9201 University City Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28223
United States

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