The median voter didn't show up: Costly meetings and insider rents
How does changing from an assembly to a town-council form of government affect the way in which cities are run? Previous empirical research on this question has not found much of an impact of assemblies on aggregate outcomes such as local public expenditures or taxation. Nevertheless, the specific role of organized insiders may be important to understand how cities and towns governed by citizens' assemblies work. Existing surveys point to local workers as an important pressure group in local assemblies. Using data from local governments in New England I find that municipalities governed by assemblies pay around 4% to 10% higher salaries to their employees. This wage premium is bigger in assemblies with lower attendance, and increasing with the employees' voting power. I prove my results robust to the inclusion of an exogenous representative-government comparison group: municipalities in New York State that lie within 40 miles of the border with New England. The results demonstrate how insider groups derive some advantages from an assembly form of government. More broadly, the potential capture of assemblies by insider groups can be an important risk faced by municipalities with low citizen participation, which provides a rationale for the widespread adoption of representative government at the local level.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Matthew Turner & Quinn Weninger, 2005.
"Meetings with Costly Participation: An Empirical Analysis,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 247-268.
- Turner, Matthew & Weninger, Quinn, 2005. "Meetings with Costly Participation: An Empirical Analysis," Staff General Research Papers Archive 11464, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
- A. Smith, Jeffrey & E. Todd, Petra, 2005. "Does matching overcome LaLonde's critique of nonexperimental estimators?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 305-353.
- Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 2003. "Does Matching Overcome Lalonde's Critique of Nonexperimental Estimators?," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20035, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
- Hoxby, Caroline M., 1999. "The productivity of schools and other local public goods producers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 1-30, October.
- Bergstrom, Theodore C & Goodman, Robert P, 1973. "Private Demands for Public Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 280-296, June.
- Robert J. Mackay & Carolyn L. Weaver, 1983. "Commodity Bundling and Agenda Control in the Public Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(4), pages 611-635.
- Bewley, Truman F, 1981. "A Critique of Tiebout's Theory of Local Public Expenditures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 713-740, May.
- Epple, Dennis & Zelenitz, Allan, 1981. "The Roles of Jurisdictional Competition and of Collective Choice Institutions in the Market for Local Public Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 87-92, May.
- Yinger, John, 1982. "Capitalization and the Theory of Local Public Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(5), pages 917-943, October.
- Pommerehne, Werner W., 1978. "Institutional approaches to public expenditure : Empirical evidence from Swiss municipalities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 255-280, April.
- Jeffrey S. Rosenthal & Martin J. Osborne & Matthew A. Turner, 2000. "Meetings with Costly Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 927-943, September.
- Martin Osborne & Jeffry Rosenthal & Matthew A. Turner, 1998. "Meetings with costly participation," Working Papers mturner-98-02, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
- Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416-416.
- Martin J. Osborne & Jeffrey S. Rosenthal & Matthew A. Turner, 2005. "Meetings with Costly Participation: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1351-1354, September.
- Pommerehne, Werner W & Schneider, Friedrich, 1978. "Fiscal Illusion, Political Institutions, and Local Public Spending," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(3), pages 381-408.
- Ott, Mack, 1980. "Bureaucracy, monopoly, and the demand for municipal services," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 362-382, November.
- Rexford Santerre, 1989. "Representative versus direct democracy: Are there any expenditure differences?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 60(2), pages 145-154, February.
- Rexford Santerre, 1986. "Representative versus direct democracy: A Tiebout test of relative performance," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 55-63, January.
- Edward M. Gramlich & Daniel L. Rubinfeld, 1982. "Voting on public spending: Differences between public employees, transfer recipients, and private workers," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(4), pages 516-533.
- Alan B. Krueger, 1991. "Ownership, Agency, and Wages: An Examination of Franchising in the Fast Food Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(1), pages 75-101. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:regeco:v:41:y:2011:i:5:p:415-425. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.