Local Leaders and the Pursuit of Growth in U.S. Cities: The Role of Managerial Skill

62 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2020 Last revised: 7 Mar 2022

See all articles by Maria Carreri

Maria Carreri

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

Julia Payson

New York University

Date Written: March 1, 2022

Abstract

The question of whether and how city leaders matter for local economic outcomes re- mains an open empirical debate. We contribute to this research agenda by studying the effects of managerial skill—a dimension of leadership that has received little attention due to measurement challenges. We conduct an original phone survey on the management practices of over 300 mayors and city managers across the U.S. Using a difference-in-differences design that holds fixed a rich battery of individual and city- level characteristics, we examine how changes in leadership affect within-city changes in demographic and financial outcomes. We find that when local leaders employ management practices associated with organizational success, their cities grow across a range of indicators. These results are strongest for the subset of leaders who mention a growth-related goal for their time in office, suggesting that managerial skill allows local leaders to more effectively achieve their objectives.

Keywords: U.S. Cities, Mayors, City Managers, Managerial Skill, Elite Survey, Urban Politics

JEL Classification: P16, R51

Suggested Citation

Carreri, Maria and Payson, Julia, Local Leaders and the Pursuit of Growth in U.S. Cities: The Role of Managerial Skill (March 1, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3616197 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3616197

Maria Carreri (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

Julia Payson

New York University ( email )

New York, NY
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
43
Abstract Views
500
PlumX Metrics