Does Municipal Amalgamation Strengthen the Financial Viability of Local Government? A Canadian Example
Municipal amalgamation is often seen as one way to ensure that municipalities are large enough to be financially and technically capable of providing the extensive array of services with which they are charged. The idea is presumably that municipalities will be able not only to reap economies of scale, but also to coordinate service delivery over the enlarged territory as well as share costs equitably and reduce (even eliminate) spillovers of service delivery across local boundaries. This paper evaluates the extent to which municipal amalgamation in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, in 1998 achieved the provincially-stated objective of saving costs as well as its impact on taxes, financial viability, and local access and responsiveness. We conclude that the end result was the creation of a city that manages to be both too small and too big at the same time. The amalgamation probably increased the financial viability of at least the smaller and poorer municipalities in the newly created City of Toronto by increasing their access to the tax base of the amalgamated city as a whole and it also equalized local services so that everyone can enjoy a similar level of services. However, it had no significant effect on either the financial sustainability of Toronto or its capacity to deal with financial crises, nor did it achieve cost savings or solve any of the problems that the city and region faced in the last decade and continue to face in this one. The new city remains much too small to address the regional issues that plague the greater Toronto region (such as transportation and land use planning and economic development) while resulting in resulted in reduced access and participation by residents in local decision-making. On balance, it seems unlikely that anyone looking back with knowledge of the small and questionable gains that appear to have been realized would willingly have undertaken the complex, extended and painful process of metropolitan amalgamation.
|Date of creation:||25 Mar 2013|
|Contact details of provider:|| Phone: 404-413-0235|
Web page: http://aysps.gsu.edu/isp/index.html
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.:
- Enid Slack & Juan R. Cuadrado-Roura & José Miguel Fernández Güell & Eduardo Rojas & Richard Bird & Jeroen Klink & Christian Lefévre & Joan Subirats & Quim Brugué & Andrés Monzón & Alberto Etchegaray, 2005. "Governing the Metropolis: Principles and Cases," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 79939 edited by Juan R. Cuadrado-Roura & José Miguel Fernández Güell & Eduardo Rojas.
- Robert A. Mundell & Paul J. Zak, 2005. "Introduction," Chapters, in: International Monetary Policy after the Euro, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
- Richard Baldwin & Rikard Forslid & Philippe Martin & Gianmarco Ottaviano & Frederic Robert-Nicoud, 2005. "Introduction," Introductory Chapters, in: Economic Geography and Public Policy Princeton University Press.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ays:ispwps:paper1305. 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: (Paul Benson)
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.