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Government Consolidation and Economic Development in Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh

Government Consolidation and Economic Development in Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh

Rae W. Archibald
Sally Sleeper
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 62
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  • Book Info
    Government Consolidation and Economic Development in Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh
    Book Description:

    This report concludes that, although evidence is mixed and effects difficult to measure, consolidating the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County could enhance economic development by unifying leadership, improving policy direction and coordination, and sharpening economic-development initiatives. Increased collaboration with the private sector also is important, and combining only two governments still leaves the region highly fragmented.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4491-4
    Subjects: Population Studies, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Summary
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    Pittsburgh and Allegheny County are among the most highly fragmented regions in the country, with some 128 municipalities, 101 special districts, and 44 school districts in Allegheny County alone. There are more than 900 governmental units in the seven-county metropolitan statistical area (MSA), giving the region more governments per capita than any other major region in the United States.¹ Thus it is not surprising that this periodically leads to public debate about the wisdom of combining local governments in the region. Allegheny County adopted a home-rule charter in 1998 that created a county council and an elected county executive and...

  9. CHAPTER TWO City-County Consolidations: History and Theoretical Rationales
    (pp. 5-14)

    This chapter briefly reviews the history of city-county consolidations. It also presents the theoretical arguments—pro and con—for such consolidations.

    City-county consolidations are, in a statistical sense, rare. And they are quite different events—so different that one observer has calledcity-county consolidationa misnomer. There have been 37 city-county consolidations in the United States, starting with New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1805 and ending (so far) with Georgetown–Quitman County, Georgia, in 2006 (NACo, undated). This is from a universe of more than 3,000 counties in the United States. Table 2.1 shows the 10 successful consolidations from 1990 through...

  10. CHAPTER THREE City-County Consolidation: Practitioners’ and Academics’ Views
    (pp. 15-20)

    Improved economic development is becoming the primary argument advanced to support city-county consolidation. So what is the evidence that consolidation will bring greater economic growth? We start with information gleaned from our interviews with economic-development practitioners and professionals around the country, then turn to the empirical academic literature. Finally, we propose our synthesis of reasons that economic development might be expected to improve with city-county consolidation.

    Economic-development officials and professionals we interviewed generally support city-county consolidation. We found that, in counties where consolidation had taken place, opinions about consolidation’s effects on economic development ranged from mildly positive to overwhelmingly positive....

  11. CHAPTER FOUR The Economic-Development Case
    (pp. 21-28)

    This chapter turns to the main focus of our discussion of consolidation: whether it fosters economic development. It begins by laying out what are seen as the goals of economic development and turns next to ways of measuring economic improvement.

    The generally acknowledged goal of economic development is a healthy economy. Traditionally, that has meant that economic-development departments and boosters were tasked with attracting new jobs to a region, primarily from firms and institutions outside of the region. However, a number of elements of a region contribute to a healthy economy, and each element can be a focus of improvement...

  12. CHAPTER FIVE Consolidating the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County
    (pp. 29-36)

    We now turn to assessing how the elements of the economic-development case fare in the Pittsburgh–Allegheny County setting. Conceptually, we want to retrace the arguments and assess where the balance might fall specifically for Pittsburgh–Allegheny County. We begin with a simple recounting of the elements of the economic-development case set forth in Table 4.2 in Chapter Four. Table 5.1 shows the elements based on our assessment of the body of evidence of differences that might show up when comparing an unconsolidated City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County to a consolidated entity These assessments are based on the theoretical...

  13. CHAPTER SIX Conclusions
    (pp. 37-38)

    So, putting our analysis and subjective inferences together, where do we come out on the question of whether consolidation of the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County has a reasonable probability of improving the region’s economic development? We would argue that some positive changes are within grasp. Even if not demonstrable empirically in other settings, key signs point to some version of consolidation as being helpful. First,improved policy direction and unity of leadership seems within grasp, and our judgment is that this can have a positive, although likely too difficult to measure, effect on economic development. Second,improved coordination...

  14. APPENDIX Interview Protocol
    (pp. 39-40)
  15. References
    (pp. 41-44)