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The Organization of Government in Metropolitan Areas: A Theoretical Inquiry

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  • Ostrom, Vincent
  • Tiebout, Charles M.
  • Warren, Robert

Abstract

Allusions to the “problem of metropolitan government†are often made in characterizing the difficulties supposed to arise because a metropolitan region is a legal non-entity. From this point of view, the people of a metropolitan region have no general instrumentality of government available to deal directly with the range of problems which they share in common. Rather there is a multiplicity of federal and state governmental agencies, counties, cities, and special districts that govern within a metropolitan region.This view assumes that the multiplicity of political units in a metropolitan area is essentially a pathological phenomenon. The diagnosis asserts that there are too many governments and not enough government. The symptoms are described as “duplication of functions†and “overlapping jurisdictions.†Autonomous units of government, acting in their own behalf, are considered incapable of resolving the diverse problems of the wider metropolitan community. The political topography of the metropolis is called a “crazy-quilt pattern†and its organization is said to be an “organized chaos.†The prescription is reorganization into larger units—to provide “a general metropolitan framework†for gathering up the various functions of government. A political system with a single dominant center for making decisions is viewed as the ideal model for the organization of metropolitan government. “Gargantua†is one name for it.

Suggested Citation

  • Ostrom, Vincent & Tiebout, Charles M. & Warren, Robert, 1961. "The Organization of Government in Metropolitan Areas: A Theoretical Inquiry," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(4), pages 831-842, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:apsrev:v:55:y:1961:i:04:p:831-842_12
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