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Governance and the City: An Empirical Exploration into Global Determinants of Urban Performance

Listed author(s):
  • Daniel Kaufmann

    (The World Bank)

  • Frannie Leautier

    (The World Bank)

  • Massimo Mastruzzi

    (The World Bank)

We contribute to the field of urban governance and globalization through an empirically-based exploration of determinants of performance of cities. We construct a preliminary worldwide database for cities, containing variables and indicators of globalization (at the country and city level), city governance, city performance (access and quality of infrastructure service delivery), as well as other relevant city characteristics. This city database, encompassing hundreds of cities worldwide, integrates existing data with new data gathered for this research project. We present a very simple conceptual framework and a set of hypotheses, and then test them econometrically. The findings suggest that good governance and globalization (at both the country as well as at the city level) do matter for city-level performance in terms of access and quality of delivery of infrastructure services. We also find that globalization and good city governance are significantly related with each other. There appear to be dynamic pressures from globalization and accountability that result in better performance at the city level. Furthermore, the evidence suggests that there are particular and complex interactions between technology choices, governance and city performance, as well as evidence of a non-linear (u- shaped) relationship between city size and performance, challenging the view that very large cities necessarily exhibit lower performance and pointing to potential agglomeration economies. Our framework also suggests a way of bridging two seemingly competing strands of the literature, namely viewing the city as a place or as an outcome. We conclude pointing to the need for expanding the database and the econometric framework, as well as to more general future research directions and policy implications emerging from this initial empirical investigation in the field of governance and the city.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Urban/Regional with number 0405004.

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Date of creation: 14 May 2004
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpur:0405004
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  1. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
  2. De Long, J Bradford & Shleifer, Andrei, 1993. "Princes and Merchants: European City Growth before the Industrial Revolution," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(2), pages 671-702, October.
  3. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294.
  5. Daniel Kaufmann & Massimo Mastruzzi & Diego Zavaleta, 2003. "Sustained Macroeconomic Reforms, Tepid Growth: A Governance Puzzle in Bolivia?," Development and Comp Systems 0308003, EconWPA.
  6. Iain Deas & Benito Giordano, 2001. "Conceptualising and measuring urban competitiveness in major English cities: an exploratory approach," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 33(8), pages 1411-1429, August.
  7. Anas, Alex & Kyu Sik Lee, 1996. "The benefits of alternative power tariffs for Nigeria and Indonesia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1606, The World Bank.
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