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Political Science
Peter Rutenberg

• Public choice theory applies market economic theories to metropolitan development and service delivery • Values both efficiency and the freedom of citizens to exercise individual choice • Astrong metropolitan government would help to even out the local taxing and service levels in communities throughout a region, in effect diminishing the real choice of residents available to citizens • • Advocates small-scale, de-centralized government through metropolitan fragmentation--- as found in many suburban jurisdictions • Ideally, jurisdictional competition will force the hand of government to behave more ‘efficiently’because it creates competition among local municipalities • Middle and upper income groups and economic development projects are linked to the resource potential of jurisdictions • They are perceived to increase or add to the tax base of jurisdictions  Drawing on the theory of public choice, 'polycentric competition' is based on the ASSUMPTIONS that: (unlike I mentioned in lecture you will need to know these factors) • metro fragmented governments act as powerful information cues to persons making moving decisions • the interaction between multiple local governments in a metropolitan region simulates a market for local public goods; • limits wasteful spending; • increases efficiency and responsiveness in the provision of goods and services; • it is concerned with efficiency and the freedom of citizens to exercise individual choice • According to PCT, centralized government cannot satisfy the diversity of citizens tastes from different level of services and taxation. • According to PCT, some are willing to pay for high levels of services (education, mass transit, etc), those who prefer lower rates of taxation can choose another community • According to PCT, citizen satisfaction is maximized when each individual can make a choice from a metropolitan market that offers many different and distinctive communities. Peterson’s model  Capital is mobile: Cities/Suburbs are constrained by market economy to compete for residents and jobs or suffer economic decline.  Assumes that businesses and individuals will move to a jurisdiction with lower taxation, so that residents in local jurisdictions will sort out by local taxation regimens  High income residents and business firms are important to communities because they affect the size of the local property tax base, which in turn leads to improved local services, lower tax rates, or both.  Growth and economic development leads leaders to focus on developmental policy, leaving the politics of redistribution (ex. welfare programs) to the federal level. Three types of city/suburb policies (Peterson) • Developmental (ex. sports arenas): can enhance the economic position of the city (jobs and revenue). Government officials are assumed to anticipate business needs first • Redistributive (ex. social welfare programs): no city can afford to undertake a course of action designed pri
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