Learning From the Joneses: The Professional Learning Effect of Regional Councils of Government on Municipal Fiscal Slack in Suburban Chicago

Source: David Mitchell, Whitney Davis, Rebecca Hendrick, Public Budgeting and Finance, Advance Articles, First published: October 30, 2020 (subscription required)

From the abstract:
Fiscal slack scholars have sought to identify the primary generators of unreserved fund balance (UFB) within local governments, including economic, organizational, demographic, institutional, and political factors. Guo and Wang (2017) extend this endeavor spatially; however, geography may mask the professional learning impact of subregional councils of governments (COGs). This study examines 265 Chicago suburban municipalities to reveal through a pairing approach that municipalities who belong to the same subregional COG generally have more similar UFB levels, independent of geographical proximity. Policymakers can therefore utilize COGs when making decisions regarding a municipality’s most vital resource for strategic investments and fiscal stress.