Evaluating Public Programs: The Impact of General Revenue Sharing on Municipal Government

Evaluating Public Programs: The Impact of General Revenue Sharing on Municipal Government

Patrick D. Larkey
Copyright Date: 1979
Pages: 288
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Evaluating Public Programs: The Impact of General Revenue Sharing on Municipal Government
    Book Description:

    For effective program evaluation, it is necessary to specify a counterfactual state, i.e., what would have happened without the program. Conventional approaches to program evaluation, preoccupied with technical and value issues, fail to address directly the need for counterfactual arguments. They also fail to recognize the indispensable role of positive theories of technical and behavioral processes in making these arguments. In order to understand the impact of the General Revenue Sharing (GRS) program on the fiscal behavior of municipal governments, Patrick Larkey develops and demonstrates an unconventional approach to program evaluation that overcomes these failures.

    Drawing on the positive theories of budgetary decisionmaking processes as well as longitudinal revenue and expenditure data from primary sources, the author specifies, estimates, and tests four "bureaucratic process" models for each of five city governments receiving GRS funds. Using these models to generate complex, counterfactual hypotheses, he then compares the counterfactual patterns with observed patterns to understand the fiscal effects of GRS.

    Originally published in 1979.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6997-8
    Subjects: Political Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Figures
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-2)
  6. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-20)

    Federal assistance programs to state and local governments are increasingly important instruments of federal domestic policy. Assistance programs have constituted an increasing proportion of gross national product (GNP), of total federal domestic expenditures, and of total state and local expenditure.

    Figure 1-1 shows federal grants to state and local governments, by gross types, for ten fiscal years, 1967–1977. There has been substantial growth in both total grants and in those grant programs in which recipient governments have significant discretion in executing the programs (i.e., Revenue Sharing and Other Grants).

    Table I-I¹ summarizes expenditures through federal grantin-aid programs by major...

  7. 2 Research Design
    (pp. 21-60)

    Imbedded in a “research design” are decisions on the scope and content of the problem and a number of lesser, albeit important, methodological choices. For work within academic disciplines, these choices are often “sensible by convention.” Disciplinary audiences are familar with the conventions; and the choices neither require nor receive extensive, explicit consideration. It is customary in reporting research to convey the impression that research design choices are clear-cut, grounded in the theories of the discipline, and occurring prior to and neatly defining the actual work.²

    In fact, for most empirical work in the social sciences, the many interrelated choices...

  8. 3 Theoretical Foundations
    (pp. 61-120)

    One criterion for model development introduced in the last chapter stated that for a model to beplausiblein the context of this research it must be (1) consistent with a positive theory of municipal resource allocation processes; and (2) able to replicate observed outcomes in the period prior to GRS with some statistical reliability.

    The primary purpose of this chapter is to argue that in spite of their simplicity and lack of one-to-one correspondence with “observables” in the decision processes they represent, the models introduced at the conclusion of Chapter 2 are consistent with a positive theory of municipal...

  9. 4 Model Testing
    (pp. 121-161)

    It was argued in the last chapter that careful analysis of the fiscal effects of General Revenue Sharing requires a means of generating a complex hypothesis on what recipients’ revenue and expenditure patterns would have been without GRS. Computer-based “simulation” models viewing municipal resource allocation as bureaucratic processes are ideally suited to the task. Four models of municipal expenditure, consistent with the problem formulation and stated criteria for model development, were introduced. This chapter presents the results from estimating and testing the models empirically for five municipal governments.¹

    Crecine has suggested two questions to use in evaluating decision models as...

  10. 5 Empirical Results
    (pp. 162-215)

    The results from estimating and testing four expenditure models were presented in Chapter 4. The discussion concluded with the decision to use the constant-proportion-of-the-revenue-increment (CPRI) model for the analysis of General Revenue Sharing expenditure effects. In this chapter, the empirical results on GRS fiscal effects are presented in three parts. First, revenue effects are analyzed. The models, procedures, and assumptions used in the analysis of revenue effects in each of the five cities are discussed. Second, given “revenue increments” for GRS years, the fiscal effects for each city are presented. And third, comparisons between the results from this research and...

  11. 6 “Basic”
    (pp. 216-229)

    For research of the type reported here, there is no obviously correct point to stop the empirical work and report results. The data and models can always be refined further. Each step taken in the research reveals several further steps that can and should be taken to strengthen and expand understanding of the topic. Like theories, results are always approximations. This chapter consists of three parts. First, the findings on the impact of GRS on municipal fiscal behavior are given. Second, some potentially worthwhile extensions of this work are described, and third, the research approach is summarized and appraised.


  12. Appendix A
    (pp. 230-241)
  13. Appendix B
    (pp. 242-246)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 247-260)
  15. Index
    (pp. 261-264)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 265-265)