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Paying the piper: A critical examination of ACIL Allen’s (2016) An Economic Assessment of Recasting Council Boundaries in South Australia


  • Dollery, Brian
  • Drew, Joseph


Contemporary public policymaking relies on commissioned work from for-profit consulting companies as a prime source of policy advice. The scholarly literature on the ‘externalisation’ of policy advice has questioned the analytical rigour of such externalised advice. An embryonic literature on policy externalisation in Australian local government has demonstrated that serious flaws exist in numerous consultant reports. In an effort to contribute to this nascent body of empirical scholarship, this paper critically examines ACIL Allen’s (2016) An Economic Assessment of Recasting Council Boundaries in South Australia which prescribes the wholesale amalgamation of South Australian local councils. We show that ACIL Allen (2016) is seriously flawed and its policy prescriptions should thus be treated with caution.

Suggested Citation

  • Dollery, Brian & Drew, Joseph, 2017. "Paying the piper: A critical examination of ACIL Allen’s (2016) An Economic Assessment of Recasting Council Boundaries in South Australia," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 74-82.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecanpo:v:54:y:2017:i:c:p:74-82
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eap.2017.02.003

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Joseph Drew & Brian Dollery, 2014. "Separation anxiety: an empirical evaluation of the Australian Sunshine Coast Regional Council de-amalgamation," Public Money & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(3), pages 213-220, May.
    2. Brian Bell & Brian Dollery & Joseph Drew, 2016. "Learning from Experience in NSW?," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 35(2), pages 99-111, June.
    3. Saint-Martin, Denis, 2004. "Building the New Managerialist State: Consultants and the Politics of Public Sector Reform in Comparative Perspective," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199269068.
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