The Non-Randomness of Municipal Government Reorganization: Evidence From Village Dissolution in New York

Source: Pengju Zhang, The American Review of Public Administration, OnlineFirst, Published June 25, 2019
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From the abstract:
Municipal government dissolution used to be a rare occurrence in American history and has thus far received little attention in the literature. More than 300 of municipal governments, however, have dissolved since the mid-1990s. To understand this emerging momentum in practice and to fill the gap in literature, this article focuses on the increasing trend of village dissolution in New York, builds an analytical framework, and investigates the driving forces behind the possibility of dissolution, which is measured either by the presence of any dissolution-related activity or by the passage of a dissolution referendum. Based on a representative survey sample and a rich set of secondary data, this article consistently finds that dissolution does not randomly occur. Rather, dissolution is more likely to be considered and approved in a village where the economy struggles, the population declines, political trust undermines, and fiscal health deteriorates. In other words, the research suggests dissolution may not be as appealing or take place in economically strong and politically dynamic areas.