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Do Amalgamations Make a Difference? What We can Learn from Evaluating the Policy Success of a Large Scale Forced Amalgamation of Local Government

Dana McQuestin, Joseph Drew and Masato Miyazaki
PAQ, Vol. 45 No. 3, 278-298 (2021)

Deteriorating financial sustainability of local governments internationally has resulted in increased implementation of structural reform programs as a potential solution. However, the lack of a coherent framework to evaluate policy success has resulted in a myriad of approaches being applied by scholars, sometimes with conflicting results. This inconsistency is problematic given the importance of ex post analyses to the learning process, needed to ensure better decision-making and more efficacious interventions in the future. To address this gap in the literature, we employed the policy success framework along with a number of difference-in-difference analyses to assess the impact of amalgamation following a recent large-scale program. Moreover, in cognisance of the policy success literature, we also introduced a new innovation whereby we conducted empirical estimations on the disaggregated elements of total expenditure. We conclude with an enumeration of important lessons for policymaking and scholarly analysis.
Key Words: Policy success; Structural reform; Local government; Amalgamation

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