The Political Economy of Local Governance and Service Provision

Jennifer Dirmeyer

Advisor: Peter Boettke

Committee Members: Peter Leeson, Frederic Sautet

Enterprise Hall, 318
April 13, 2009, 08:00 PM to 07:00 PM


Local governments have a large impact on the wellbeing of individuals.  They are the providers if not the funders of most public services and they enact and enforce many of the laws that determine the productivity of individuals within the economy.  This dissertation looks at three aspects of the effect of local governance incentives on public service provision.  The first chapter looks at the relationship between federal funds and local governance.  The analysis suggests that federal aid weakens the competitive discipline that Tiebout competition enforces on local governance resulting in greater incentives for corruption.  The second chapter examines the effects of urban decline on disaster response and reconstruction.  Cities that have experienced urban decline before a disaster experience coordination failures that result in slower population recovery.  The final chapter compares the provision of flood protection by a centralized body, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, with the potential provision by local governments.  This chapter uses the analysis of the Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force’s Performance Evaluation of the New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana Hurricane Protection System, released March 2007, to identify specific failings of centralized control.