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Government restructuring: An appraisal of the economic impacts of city-county consolidation

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Ismaila Odogba
Abstract:
Over the last two decades, there has been renewed emphasis on the economic roles of regions and territorial space in the international market place. In the United States, new regionalists posit that structural approaches, in particular, city-county consolidation, will enable regions to be more competitive in the global economy, ameliorate certain development problems, and generate economic benefits. However, despite an extensive body of literature on the fiscal impacts of consolidation reform, the economic development literature remains sparse. The few studies on the impact of consolidation reform on economic development usually do not engage systematic empirical tests. In most studies, comparison counties are selected without any statistical justifications and consolidation is treated as the establishment of "one unified government" despite the continued existence of overlapping structures of government. Given some of the consequences of successful consolidation referenda, such as the redistribution of political influence, the economic development impacts of consolidated counties require empirical tests in other to inform the decision of municipal jurisdictions considering governmental consolidation as a policy for countywide economic growth. This dissertation address aspects of this deficiency by employing paired evaluations on a systematic basis to identify the economic development impacts of city-county consolidation in different industrial sectors. The study uses statistical methods--cluster and time series analysis--to assess how territorial and institutional restructuring affects the economic performance of three consolidated counties. Overall, the argument by political actors and reform advocates that the spatial realignment of territorial boundaries with political authority in order to establish an appropriate context for enhancing regional economic development is not substantiated by the results of the study.

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE LIST OF TABLES ix LIST OF FIGURES xi CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION 1 Introduction 1 Background 3 Problem Overview 4 Scope of Analysis 6 Primary Research Hypothesis 7 Present state of the Literature 7 Organization of the Study 8 A Contribution to the Literature 9 2. LITERATURE REVIEW 11 City-County Consolidations 11 Impediments to Consolidation Reform 13 The Paradigm Shift 19 The County as a Regional Growth Engine 24 Restructuring Government 28 Consolidation and Empirical Evidence 31 3. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 41 Unit of Analysis and Treatment Counties 41 Dependent Variable - Real Productivity 45 Empirical Model 51 Degree of Consolidation Index 60 Cluster. Analvsis 61 vn

4. 5. 6. Data Sources CLUSTER ANALYSIS DCI Clusters Obtaining the Control Counties Consolidated and Control Counties ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE AND CONSOLIDATION Examining the Associations Assessing the Impacts of Consolidation on Productivity Putting it Together Being Specific CONCLUSION Discussion Policy Recommendations Limitations of the Study Areas for Further research REFERENCES APPENDICES Appendix A Appendix B Appendix C Appendix D Appendix E Appendix F Appendix G Appendix H CURRICULUM VITAE 64 68 69 72 77 80 81 85 94 96 98 99 101 103 103 105 115 115 116 118 122 125 129 137 141 142 viii

LIST OF TABLES TABLE PAGE 2.1 Successful City-County Consolidations in the United States 17 2.2 Basic impediments to the Establishment of Consolidated Governments 18 2.3 Likelihood of Success for City-County Consolidation Campaigns 24 3.1a Productivity, Davidson County Descriptive Statistics 48 3.1b Dependent Variable, Descriptive Statistics: Davidson County, TN 48 3.2a Productivity, Duval County Descriptive Statistics 49 3.2b Dependent Variable, Descriptive Statistics: Duval County, FL 49 3.3a Productivity, Marion County Descriptive Statistics 50 3.3b Dependent Variable, Descriptive Statistics: Marion County, IN 50 4.1 DCI Cluster ANOVA 70 4.2 Counties forming a Subset with Jacksonville-Duval County, FL 76 5.1 DW Critical Values for SITS Models 81 5.2 Nashville-Davidson County Regression Results: Associations 83 5.3 Jacksonville-Duval County Regression Results: Associations 84 5.4 Indianapolis-Marion County Regression Results: Associations 84 5.5 Nashville-Davidson Regression Estimates: Productivity as a Proportion 86 of the Rest of Tennessee, 1947-1997 5.6 Nashville-Davidson Regression Estimates: Productivity as a Proportion 87 of Fulton, GA, 1947-1997 IX

5.7 Jacksonville-Duval Regression Estimates: Productivity as a Proportion 88 of the Rest of Florida 5.8 Jacksonville-Duval Regression Estimates: Productivity as a Proportion 91 of Hillsborough, FL, 1947-1997 5.9 Indianapolis-Marion Regression Estimates: Productivity as a Proportion 92 of the Rest of Indiana, 1947-1997 5.10 Indianapolis-Marion Regression Estimates: Productivity as a Proportion 93 of Franklin, OH, 1947-1997 5.11 Nashville-Davidson, TN: Consolidation Effects on the Productivity Curve 95 5.12 Jacksonville-Duval, FL: Consolidation Effects on the Productivity Curve 95 5.13 Indianapolis-Marion, IN: Consolidation Effects on the Productivity Curve 95 6.1 The Extent of Integration achieved by Consolidation 100

LIST OF FIGURES FIGURE PAGE 2.1 City-County Consolidations by Regions 12 3.1 Expected Impacts of an Event on Economic Production 54 3.2 Interrupted Time Series Analysis of Cuban Energy Consumption 56 4.1 DCI Cluster Dendrogram 71 4.2 Indianapolis-Marion County Dendrogram 74 4.3 Jacksonville-Duval County Dendrogram 75 4.4 Nashville-Davidson County Dendrogram 77 4.5 Census Regions of Consolidated and Control Counties 78 5.1 Predicted and Actual Values of Productivity as a Proportion 97 XI

CHAPTER 1 AN INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY AND PROBLEM OVERVIEW This dissertation is about the restructuring of government as a stratagem for accumulating capital. Restructuring, associated with territorial adjustments, is a change in organizational (government) structure of urban regions (with widespread political implications). Capital accumulation is conceptualized as wealth essential to development and growth: it includes but is not limited to human capital accumulation such as increasing the skills of the potential labor force; higher per capita income; financial investments in paper and non-productive physical assets; real investments in tangible means of production; and social capital. I use the term synonymously with economic expansion and development The study attempts to answer the question: "Does the consolidation of institutional powers enhance economic expansion?" through a focus on city-county consolidation as the structural reform crucial to economic expansion. Plausibly, the competition for and accumulation of capital are the fundamental reasons for restructuring. Decades of global economic transformation (Zukin, 1991; Sassen, 1991; Bluestone and Harrison, 1982), fragmentation of institutional capacity, devolution of federal fiscal responsibilities, arid increased competition (Eisinger, 1998; Kleinberg, 1995) have impacted not only urban policy but also the process of 1

governance, thus generating responses in the form of government restructuring in order to adapt in a global economy (Cohen et al., 1996). Capital accumulation is the increase in wealth or the creation of wealth vital to development. The profusion of such wealth is imperative to development, growth and economic expansion. For instance, Peterson (1981) argues that cities pursue developmental policies in order to maximize utility or facilitate economic expansion, but they also engage in redistributive and allocational policies. Cities provide services such as welfare, health, and education for their populace and this expenditure requires capital. With capital accumulation, structural imbalances between fiscal need (inadequate resources) and fiscal capacity (revenue base) do not usually arise. When structural imbalances do arise (due to high costs and an anemic tax base), economic decline is likely to occur due to the propensity of the populace (businesses and residents) to flee from societal ills. Since service cost does not decline in proportion to populace loss, this implies higher taxes for reduced services. Eventually, taxes increase as a cost of doing business in the area, reducing the value of property and any incentives left for businesses to locate or expand their operations (Coleman, 2004). Spatial flight from urban ills and declining services made possible by economic mobility contributes to fiscal stress in receiving localities. The net result is reduced quality of life for all and less fairly distributed tax burdens, as typified by the social ills now plaguing many first ring suburbs due to the selective outflows of people, jobs, and wealth into exurbia (Berube et al.,2002). Thus, economic expansion or capital accumulation has become a 'do or die' affair in the international marketplace as production, capital, and consumption have 2

increasingly become globalized. Swanstrom (2001) notes that "the present rules of the game, set largely by federal government and the states, favor competition over cooperation" due to the fact that although local governments possess "freedom from outside interference," they lack "the resources and capabilities necessary to make meaningful choices" (492). Subsequently, the inability to compete, acquire, retain, and accumulate capital results in economic stagnation and decline (Leo and Brown, 2000). For that reason, capital accumulation has become essential to the survival of places. It strengthens competitiveness, improves global ranking, and ensures fiscal comfort and better quality of life. In the pursuit of "footloose" capital, institutional influence is crucial for control over economic space, since political and economic geographies do not always correspond. Political boundaries do not constrain economic flows. The ability of capital to transcend and reduce spatial barriers, to an extent, undermines economic initiatives and political influence (Harvey, 2000). Institutional reorganization is thus required to attain some measure of control over economic resources and geographical regions due to the spatial nature of capital. To accumulate capital, given global transformations, 'institutional power' needs to be redistributed and spatial territorial boundaries realigned with political authority in order to establish a political context for guiding urban policy within socio-economic spheres (Savitch and Vogel, 2004). Background Political arrangements determine the systematic arrangement of space; and governmental reorganization involving the downscaling or concentration of institutional power and the realignment of territorial space is not novel. Traditionally, in the United States, municipalities tended to annex or legally incorporate growth outside their 3

boundaries into their geo-political entity. A different form of reorganization (the formation of special districts and incorporation of municipalities) ensued beginning in the late nineteenth century due to favorable incorporation laws, political resistance to forced annexations, and the need to acquire the 'bundle of institutions' necessary to influence urban policy (Burns, 1994). Polycentric or multiple fragments of territorial space and increased centers of institutional power have been the result of the proliferation of special districts and local governments. While fragmentation enhances local self determination, it also causes fierce competition for capital between local governments. Jockeying for investment capital, resources, and assets between proximate localities can paralyze central economic management. It leads to 'pork barrel' politics in allocation decisions, duplication of efforts, and, in turn, affects the competitiveness of a region or nation as a whole (Ward and John, 1999). In addition, municipalities which lack leverage over capital tend to give away the 'store' and experience the 'winners curse' by offering incentives which amount to 'spending a dollar to gain a penny' (see Felsentein, Littlepage and Klacik, 1999). Problem Overview The emergence of the new knowledge economy has placed renewed emphasis on the economic role of regions and territorial space (Dunford and Kafkalas, 1992). In addition, bundles of capital (such as human and social capital) are now required for specialized services in the new global knowledge economy. As local governments continue to restructure according to global pressures, focus has shifted from the local and national economy to the metropolitan region as the appropriate scale for promoting economic expansion (Hoyler, et al., 2006; Barnes and Ledebur, 1998). The justification 4

of regional arguments on the basis of economic expansion means that a regional institution with political authority over a finite geo-economic area is required. Unlike local governments, which are 'a closed institutional system occupying a bordered geographical territory' (Brenner, 2002), most metropolitan organizations lack political and institutional structure, monopoly over urban policy, a separate territory, and functionality (Hamilton et al., 2004; Norris, 2001). Thus, to enhance capital accumulation, a formal metropolitan government must possess legislative basis just like local governments, because the metropolitan region, as it is, is a non-legal entity. Territorial realignments permit new amalgamated government to exercise decisions and control via policy nets (Savitch, 2005). Given that any incorporated locality, no matter how small, is characterized by "institutional conditions which influence decision making by many different governments, each of which has limited authority and competence" (Hansen, 1975:41), traditional reform advocates assert that the consolidation of existing localities, with significant powers of land use and development, into a unified political unit creates a 'single economic space,' thereby presenting fewer obstructions to the natural market process and enhancing region-wide capital accumulation. Proponents of unification continue to profess that amalgamation augments capital accumulation by virtue of 1) density or size (scale economies) and, 2) monopoly over urban policy. The economies of scale do not always arise with consolidation; increase in population does not necessary result in a reduction of the average cost of service provision. Although the population of local governments increases because of unification, so also do fiscal responsibilities. The notion that increased population or 5

greater "density could lead to economies of scale and therefore lower expenses is not borne out by the empirical evidence" (Miller, 2002: 75).l In addition, the "distribution of authority and legal powers as reflected in a city government's formal structure is not equivalent to the distribution of actual influence" (Careley, 1977: 122), thus the restructuring of government will not inevitably augment economic development. Despite the lack of conclusive and concrete evidence on the economic benefits of city-county consolidations, regionalists and reformers continue to argue for amalgamation as the panacea for urban problems and a stratagem for territorial competitiveness and economic expansion in a global economy. Scope of the Analysis No all-purpose regional form of government exists in the U.S. for capital accumulation. Scholarly debate has centered on public choice (polycentric system) and traditional reform (consolidation) arguments. City-county consolidations, which best typify governments with region-wide institutional powers, are manifestations of economic priority arguments, i.e., territorial competitiveness and capital accumulation (Savitch and Vogel 2004; Brenner, 2002; Carr and Feiock, 2002). The notion, which encompasses territorial realignments and redistribution of institutional power, is a form of restructuring. Annexations, incorporations, multi-tiered and linked systems are also forms of restructuring. In supposition, city-county consolidation is the dissolution of all municipalities and governments within a county and the creation of a single government authority for the amalgamated units in the process. This dissertation examines the economic impacts of consolidation at the county level in the U.S from 1962 to 1998. 1 At the national level, evidence indicates that the positive association between density and scale economies exists in certain public goods such as national parks, public health, and the judicial system (see Alesina and Spolare, 2003). Evidence at the sub-national level remains inconclusive. 6

Primary Research Hypothesis The major hypothesis of this study states, "The consolidation of governments within a county augments capital accumulation." It proposes that consolidated governments are expected to achieve a substantial amount of economic expansion because unitary political arrangements present unified fronts and fewer obstructions to natural market processes. Centralized systems can coordinate regional planning, streamline development approval, and unify regulatory process, all within a single economic space. In addition, monopoly over urban development policy plus discretionary authority implies that consolidated governments can be more proactive in pursuing developmental policies thus boosting economic expansion. In essence, the amalgamation of discretionary institutional powers through the process of consolidation reform eliminates structures detrimental to urban development policies (such as competition between jurisdictions in the county) while facilitating capital accumulation. This hypothesis is addressed using quantitative methods. The Present State of Literature Much of the literature on consolidation has focused on its fiscal impact and the consequences it entails for the public sector. These studies investigate the impacts of consolidated governments on general expenditures and tax policies (see Selden and Campbell 2000; Benton and Gamble 1983). In general, the debate on the fiscal impacts of consolidation is inconclusive due to the inability to accurately appraise the cost, quality and quantity of service delivery within and between governments. Few studies have undertaken a methodical assessment of the link between consolidation and economic development. While some studies indicate an association 7

between consolidation and economic expansion (Faulk et al., 2005; Rusk, 2004: 1993; Nelson and Foster 1999), other studies have found no such relationship (Carr et al., 2006; Carr and Feiock 1999; Feiock and Carr, 1997). However, research indicates that fragmented regions have a negative effect on long run metropolitan competitiveness, thus reducing the ability of metropolitan regions to adapt and compete in the global economy (Hamilton et al., 2004). Organization of the Study Chapter 2 reviews the literature related to city-county consolidation, paradigm shift in reform arguments, the county as the territorial scale for capital accumulation, and the empirical literature related to the impacts of city-county consolidation. Chapter 3 presents the details of the research methodology. A detailed discussion of the general methods is undertaken. In addition to describing the study data, the chapter also provides a background to the basic questions the study addresses, such as: 1. Does the consolidation of city and county enhance economic development in the post-consolidation period when compared to the pre-consolidation period? 2. In which particular sectors do consolidated governments augment economic performance? 3. How does the level of integration and transitional period influence the economic outcomes of city-county consolidation? The basic details and findings of the cluster analysis are presented in Chapter 4. This includes the selection criteria and a brief profile of the consolidated and non- consolidated counties. 8

Chapter 5 focuses on the results of the time series regression. The impacts of consolidation (as an event) on a system are discussed. Furthermore, the chapter compares the economic performance of the consolidated areas and non-consolidated areas concerning changes in certain industries. Chapter 6 summarizes the results of the study, presents a discussion of the policy implications of the findings of the study, discusses the study limitations, and suggests areas for further research. A Contribution to the Literature Given the "self evident" economic benefits of consolidation, why has empirical evidence failed to establish a consistent link between consolidation and economic expansion? Some of these studies failed to factor in time lags, focused on single cases, and utilized no control cases. In reality, true regional governments do not exist and city- county consolidation governments do not enjoy absolute power; they remain subject to constitutional or other restraints. Despite unification, certain incorporated areas still retain powers of decision making in land use planning, urban policy, taxation; and the level of integration differs from one consolidation to another. But existing research has often equated city-county consolidation with (hierarchical) regional government possessing absolute powers over urban economic policy. Moreover, empirical analysis does not account for the impact of "regional governance," or overlapping, complex relationships due to the proliferation of local governments, regulatory systems, informal partnerships, and service delivery agencies (Davoudi and Evans, 2005) on the economic initiatives of consolidated governments. In addition, given the complexity of merging distinct governments, a transitional period is required from the point of voter approval to 9

when the new government folly emerges (Durning, 1995; Lyons, 1977; Temple, 1972). Accounting for an intermediary period is therefore essential in any analysis involving the performance of consolidated government. Few of the studies on city-county consolidation account for this period of transition. However, many difficulties arise in assessing the capital accumulation claims of city-county consolidation. Nevertheless, this study adds to the existing body of research in three significant ways. First, unlike most studies, this study makes use of paired evaluations on a systematic basis (with similar economic structures) using statistical analysis and a comparative case study approach. Second, it establishes how the "degree of consolidation" and varying "transitional periods" impact economic expansion. Third, it determines economic performance of consolidated counties in comparison with non- consolidated counties. Overall, this dissertation highlights the implications of city-county consolidation in the context of capital accumulation. It therefore contributes to the existing literature on consolidation and, in addition, informs the urban policy of governments considering the consolidation of city and county such as Cleveland, Memphis, Pittsburgh, and San Antonio. 10

CHAPTER 2 A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ON CAPITAL ACCUMULATION AND CITY-COUNTY CONSOLIDATION And it ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. (Niccolo Machiavelli, 1513.) This chapter contains a review of relevant literature. The organization of the chapter is as follows: a brief history of city-county consolidation, the paradigmatic shift in government reform rational, the county as the regional engine for capital accumulation, and empirical evidence of scale economies and institutional capacity. City-County Consolidations Over the past two centuries, the formation of consolidated governments involving territorial realignments and redistribution of institutional powers has been rare.1 From 1805, when the City of New Orleans merged with New Orleans Parish, Louisiana, up until 2000, when Louisville City merged with Jefferson County, Kentucky, there were only thirty-seven city-county consolidations. As Table 2.1 indicates, institutional reforms of recent years have occurred mostly in the Sunbelt; the Sunbelt region accounts for 84 1 Consolidation is simply the unification of a central city with its county or the merger of more than one small units of government. 11

percent of all consolidations. Of these, twenty are in the South, while eleven are in the West. The governments of Indianapolis and Marion County, IN, and Kansas City and Wyandotte County, KS, represent the only two mergers in the Midwest. In the Northeast, the four amalgamated governments consolidated in the early to late 1800s, with the amalgamations of Philadelphia City and Philadelphia County and the five boroughs of New York being prominent. • South 54% Figure 2.1 City-County Consolidations by Regions Consolidation in the United States has largely been concentrated in the South (especially in Virginia). (See figure 2.1). Political hegemony and economic priorities are the underlying reasons why a large number of consolidations occur in the south 12

(Marando, 1979). For instance, in Virginia, towns with populations over 5,000 can incorporate into cities that have the powers to undertake functions of both a city and county government. The subsequent annexation of properties by the city lessens not only the political power and population of the county but also affects its tax base. As such, counties prefer consolidation reform. Many suburbanites perceive that governmental consolidation provides a democratic process for dislodging entrenched inner city political machines (Leland and Thurmaier, 2000; Marando, 1979). As blacks have gained and approached substantial political power in central cities across the nation including the South, consolidation becomes the best means of regaining political control by White suburbanites. Historically, in the south, due to fewer competing local government structures, the county has always been the preferred form of local government given that it does not have to be encumbered with numerous politically powerful cities. As of 1972, excluding school districts, the Northeast, Midwest, and West had an average of 49, 29, and 21 units of local government per county respectively, while the south had only 9 units of local government per county (Marando, 1979). As such, the propensity in the south is to strengthen the county by reducing or eliminating any competing local government structures through consolidation. Impediments to consolidation reform The historical and contemporary arguments for consolidation have revolved around government and economic priorities. Notwithstanding the institutional reform arguments of government performance, efficiency, fairness, and accountability, consolidations continue to be few and far between. Capital accumulation justifications have also been less compelling. The shift in rationale from issues of government 13

performance to economic priorities (see Savitch and Vogel, 2000; Orfield, 1997; Rusk 1993, 1999; Wallis, 1994; Warren, 1966), has done little to elevate the success of consolidation reforms. Of the 68 attempts at consolidation from 1907 to 1976, only 17 were successful - a 25 percent success rate. However, this figure is much lower if the formal attempts at consolidation from 1921 to 1996, when government performance and economic performance were the major reasons behind consolidation reform are considered. The success rate during this period is 16 percent i.e. twenty-two successful referendums out of one-hundred and thirty-two (Hardy, 2005). Major or large-scale consolidations remain uncommon. Small mergers involving populations of less than 350,000 people (Lyons and Scheb, 1998) are typical. In fact, only three city-county amalgamations within this period were major consolidations. These trends beget the question, "Why does consolidation reform have such a high rate of failure"? After all, consolidation efforts seek to impose a single polity on an urban area while establishing a "more orderly administrative structure for service delivery" (Marando, 1979: 410). Typically, consolidation arguments involving the redistribution of revenues from suburbs to central cities and streamlined government structure tend to fail. Leland and Thurmaier (2005) surmise that: "Traditional arguments that are based on increased efficiency and equity are unsuccessful. Instead, the essential element of successful consolidations is a group of civic elites who define the economic vision for the community, 2 These major consolidations occurred in the 60s. They comprise the consolidations of Nashville-Davidson County Tennessee (1962); Jacksonville-Duval County, Florida (1967); and Indianapolis-Marion County, Indiana (1969). The merger of Louisville-Jefferson County, Kentucky in 2000 represents the first major city-county amalgamation in thirty years. 14

determine that the existing political structure is incapable of supporting and implementing that vision, and convince voters that city-county consolidation is the key to economic development that will benefit the whole community, not just elites" (475). In essence, the active support of political leaders, entrepreneurs (Chambers of Commerce), civic elites, business interests, favorable legal framework, and existence of a crisis augment the likelihood of reform success (See Leland and Thurmaier, 2004; Stephens and Wikstrom, 2000; Henderson and Rosenbaum, 1973). The strength and type of argument made by consolidation advocates is another factor. Referenda are most likely to be successful when economic priorities are the fundamental justifications. However, the expected or observed political and social ramifications of successful consolidation reforms weigh towards defeat at the polls (Carr, 2004; also see Jones, 1942). In almost all instances, consolidation reform encounters strong political opposition because it involves radical changes in local polity that modify the existing •a power structure, especially when it involves large regions and populations. The strong political opposition is associated with other factors (cf. Savitch and Vogel, 2004; Stephen et al, 2002; Wallis, 2002; Norris, 2001). Primarily, the consolidation of governments is a threat to local autonomy and the power to exercise sovereignty over a territorial region. Connected to this is the belief that smaller governments best represent and response to the needs of their people. As such, consolidation (or big government) is considered anathema to this America ideology. Another issue, already mentioned, is the dilution of political influence of certain 3 The vast majority of consolidation attempts have occurred in areas with central city populations less than 250,000 (see Marando, 1979). 15

constituents. Urban or central city residents suddenly become political minorities4 in a less receptive government system whilst the "politics of avoidance" dominates the territorial landscape. The new consolidation government ensures that issues likely to weaken its political support base such as the redistribution of revenue, redevelopment of dilapidated inner city neighborhoods, and substantial investment in social programs simply fail to make it into the decision-making or public arena (cf. Altshuler et al, 1999; Carver, 1973). Lastly, the issue of city-county consolidation tends to reflect the adversary relations between cities and their suburbs. Cities and their suburbs compete for employment, residents, industries, and investment at the expense of each other (Savitch and Vogel, 2004; Haider, 1992). 4 A case in point is the 2000 merger reform of Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky, which was largely opposed by the African-American community. Prior to merger, one-third of the Board of Aldermen and one-third of the Jefferson County Commission were African-Americans. However, post merger, less than one-third of the Metro Council are African-Americans. 16

Full document contains 157 pages
Abstract: Over the last two decades, there has been renewed emphasis on the economic roles of regions and territorial space in the international market place. In the United States, new regionalists posit that structural approaches, in particular, city-county consolidation, will enable regions to be more competitive in the global economy, ameliorate certain development problems, and generate economic benefits. However, despite an extensive body of literature on the fiscal impacts of consolidation reform, the economic development literature remains sparse. The few studies on the impact of consolidation reform on economic development usually do not engage systematic empirical tests. In most studies, comparison counties are selected without any statistical justifications and consolidation is treated as the establishment of "one unified government" despite the continued existence of overlapping structures of government. Given some of the consequences of successful consolidation referenda, such as the redistribution of political influence, the economic development impacts of consolidated counties require empirical tests in other to inform the decision of municipal jurisdictions considering governmental consolidation as a policy for countywide economic growth. This dissertation address aspects of this deficiency by employing paired evaluations on a systematic basis to identify the economic development impacts of city-county consolidation in different industrial sectors. The study uses statistical methods--cluster and time series analysis--to assess how territorial and institutional restructuring affects the economic performance of three consolidated counties. Overall, the argument by political actors and reform advocates that the spatial realignment of territorial boundaries with political authority in order to establish an appropriate context for enhancing regional economic development is not substantiated by the results of the study.