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Hide In Plain Sight: The Uneven Proliferation Of Special Districts Across The United States By Size And Function

Author: NICHOLAS BAUROTH
Published in PAQ, Vol. 39 No. 2

The extent and reach of local government is under constant revision. Since government boundaries determines service obligations and sets the parameters for intergovernmental relationships, such upheaval has important implications for American federalism. This study uses boundary change theory to examine the proliferation of special districts between 1997 and 2007 by size and function. It finds that population growth, state restrictions on local governments, public entrepreneurship, and the existing governmental fragmentation have the greatest impact upon district proliferation by county. However, these relationships vary considerably when districts are separated by function.

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