State and Local Government Review

Sage Publications, Inc.
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Latest documents

  • Policy Diffusion in a Redistributive Policy: Affordable Housing and State Housing Trust Funds

    Diffusion models explore the reasons policies transfer across governments. In this study, we focus on U.S. state level efforts in affordable housing. Drawing predominately from policy diffusion literature, our research examines the determinants of the creation of state Housing Trust Funds (HTFs). We utilize event history analysis with logit regressions and survival modeling to examine how problem severity, neighbor adoption, economic standing, elected leadership, housing investment, and demographics predict state HTF adoption. Results indicate that both problem severity and elected leadership predict the adoption of HTFs. This work improves our understanding of state policy diffusion and efforts in housing affordability.

  • Solving Wicked Problems Requires Regional Thinking
  • Stories and Sentiment in State and Local Government Finance

    Budgets and financial statements convey essential information about revenues, expenditures, assets, and liabilities. But perhaps more important, they also convey positivity, negativity, fairness, uncertainty, and other social sentiments. This essay examines what we know, and what we need to know, about how state and local governments communicate financial sentiment. The main conclusion is that they do convey clear financial sentiments through traditional financial reporting methods and through new channels like social media. Moreover, those sentiments shift predictably in response to broader economic trends and policy priorities, and can shape how investors and other stakeholders view a government's finances. This raises several practical questions about how states and localities can measure financial sentiment, and many normative questions about whether and how they ought to attempt to manage it. The discussion also includes a brief demonstration of how to extract financial sentiment from state and local Twitter activity.

  • Emotional Labor and Professionalism: Finding Balance at the Local Level

    When examining emotions and professionalism, scholars have questioned how these concepts can coexist. Using ten interviews with local administrators, this exploratory study suggests that emotions and professionalism are interrelated—to be professional, an administrator must be skilled in emotional labor. Specifically, professionalism acts as a display rule regulating the emotional behavior of employees. An employee's ability to meet this display rule impacts their individual social capital, along with experiences of emotional contagion from other organizational members. By connecting emotional labor to professionalism, these findings suggest that the emotional competencies of local administrators should receive greater emphasis in professional training programs.

  • Municipal Takeovers: Examining State Discretion and Local Impacts in Michigan

    State interventions during municipal financial emergencies can play a critical role in ensuring the continuation of public services and preventing municipal bankruptcy but have often been applied unevenly. Using a case study of municipal takeovers in Michigan, we examine their predictability based on financial stress indicators and effects on drinking water services. We find financial stress alone does not explain takeover decisions, and that a city’s reliance on state revenue and racial and economic context play a role. Cities that have been taken over are more likely to experience drinking water privatization and rate increases than similarly financially stressed cities. The malleable definition of financial distress and discretion in implementation allow takeover policies to be applied unevenly, creating additional challenges for already distressed communities. Decision makers should seek alternative approaches to municipal financial emergencies that address underlying causes while minimizing the potential for bias and significant changes to public services.

  • State Legislation Restricting and Enabling Local Governments in an Era of Preemption

    This paper assesses state efforts to both restrict and enable local government discretion by using data from Project Vote Smart's “Key Votes” database. The results show that state legislation, both successful and unsuccessful, is more likely to limit local autonomy than to enhance it, although both tendencies occur. Republican legislators are more likely to support efforts to restrict discretion than Democrats are. Further, preemption attempts are particularly evident on “hot button” issues, such as guns, sexuality and gender roles, and immigration, although such initiatives are not necessarily more likely to successfully become law, especially under conditions of divided government.

  • Logic and Effectiveness of Urban Tree Preservation: A Comparative Case Study of Charlotte and San Antonio

    While most U.S. cities have a tree protection policy, the subsequent impact on the reduction of canopy loss is unclear. To rectify this, I utilize a theoretically grounded framework of influence comprised of clear identification of the problem/public support, adequate resources, and sound policy logic. This is then tested in a comparative case study of Charlotte, North Carolina, and San Antonio, Texas. While Charlotte benefits from public recognition of the problem and adequate resources, its regulations are weak, lacking a logical connection to aspirational outcomes. San Antonio's regulations are stronger, but combined with weaker problem identification and resources. Through quantitative and qualitative assessments, I find that San Antonio's strict regulations may have stabilized loss rates, while Charlotte's weaker rules have not. Results highlight the importance of policy logic over other commonly suggested determinants of natural resource protection.

  • Planning for the Unknown: Local Government Strategies from the Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Season in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

    This article outlines how counties and municipalities in North Carolina prepared their fiscal year 2020–21 budgets amid the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to an April 2020 survey, 92 percent of jurisdictions reported anticipating a general-fund shortfall for FY 2021, and over 20 percent expected shortfalls exceeding 10 percent of their general funds. Over three-quarters of jurisdictions reported not budgeting for any new positions, and over half instituted hiring freezes. This research presents important insights into how counties and municipalities prepared for the recession and highlights the differences and similarities of those strategies.

  • Is It Still a Mandate If We Don’t Enforce It? The Politics of COVID-related Mask Mandates in Conservative States

    Questions of whether to enforce COVID-related mask mandates are complex. While enforced mandates are more effective at controlling community spread, government imposed behavioral controls have met significant opposition in conservative states, where a political bloc on the right is skeptical that COVID presents a significant and immediate threat. The authors conduct a split sample survey in order to examine how inclusion of a fine provision attached to mask mandates affects support. The survey was conducted in Idaho (a Republican dominated state) at a time when a mask mandate was a central debate. Unsurprisingly, respondents were more supportive of a mask mandate if a fine was not included. Further investigation indicates this is primarily a result of shifting Republican attitudes, which highlights the complex political situation in conservative states as leaders consider best mechanisms for battling COVID.

  • Consensus Government and Collaboration: The COVID-19 Pandemic in Canada’s North and the Role Partnership Played in Protecting the Health and Well-being of Residents

    Despite the varying challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Northwest Territories, a northern Canadian jurisdiction with unique and challenging circumstances from governance style to geography to limited health care capacity, has been one of the leading jurisdictions in Canada to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Featured documents

  • Change in Service Provision Networks: The Case of Animal Welfare Services

    This research focuses on change within informal service provision networks, specifically examining the impact that changes within a key organization can have on the larger network. Employing a before and after survey design with a treatment at the midpoint and participant observation, it asks: What ...

  • City Limits in a Postrecessionary World

    This article explores the changing landscape of local economic development in the United States from a period of stability (1999) to a period of recessionary pressures (2009). This research finds support for one of the key components of the city limits thesis: competition drives developmental...

  • Does Local Autonomy Enhance Representation? The Influence of Home Rule on County Expenditures

    This article examines the interactive role between institution type and ideology at the local governmental level, demonstrating that additional degrees of autonomy allow for meaningful policy decisions locally. With increased discretion over policy expenditures, autonomy enhances the opportunity...

  • Understanding Intergovernmental Relations, Twenty-five Years Hence

    This article reviews Deil Wright’s textbook, Understanding Intergovernmental Relations, and assesses its current relevance to its field of coverage. Wright’s last edition of this book was published in 1988. This article, after describing significant lessons from the textbook, summarizes Wright’s...

  • Conceptualizing E-Government from Local Government Perspectives

    Over the past two decades, governments have used information and communication technologies (ICTs) to integrate their internal functions and improve their delivery of services. Scholars and practitioners have conceptualized these various ICT trends and referred to them collectively as e-government. ...

  • Not All Refinancings Are Created Equal

    In this ongoing era of fiscal stress, state and local governments have increasingly turned to financial measures to help balance their budgets. One financial tactic commonly employed is debt refinancing. This article details the common refinancing strategies employed by state and local governments. ...

  • Ballot Titles and Voter Decision Making on Ballot Questions

    From gay marriage to taxation to environmental issues, many of our nation’s most important policy issues are decided by voters through ballot questions. Conventional wisdom holds that information provided on the ballot about the ballot questions heavily influences voters’ choices in those elections,...

  • Beyond Borders: Governmental Fragmentation and the Political Market for Growth in American Cities

    Political fragmentation has been conceptualized as a phenomenon which increases competition for mobile citizens and jobs between local governments within the same region. However, the empirical basis for this nexus between governmental fragmentation and increased competition for development is...

  • A Return to State-Led Integrated Regional Planning? Emerging Approaches from Three U.S. States

    After decades of neglect, several U.S. states have increased support for regional development planning, creating new programs, organizations, and funding streams to support it. Analysis of programs in three states (New York, Michigan, and Indiana) shows similarities among them as well as contrasts...

  • Filling State and Federal Gaps with Local Solutions

    Cities are in a unique position to influence national policy. Over 80 percent of people live in cities, and over 90 percent of the U.S. economy comes from cities. Unfortunately, the federal and many state governments are dysfunctional, paralyzed by partisanship. As a result, cities are emerging as...

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