The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Urban Political Economy

  • Robert W. Helsley
Reference work entry


Models of local public finance generally emphasize the roles of household mobility and community heterogeneity in the provision of local public services. In contrast, the emerging field of urban political economy examines how economic and political institutions influence the formation of local public policies. Key issues include the strength of the local executive, whether local politicians are elected ‘at large’ or to serve the interests of particular wards, the norms that govern behaviour and decisionmaking within city councils, and institutional innovation, especially the growth of so-called ‘private governments’.


Common pool problem Local public finance Minimum winning coalitions Parliamentary systems Presidential systems Principal and agent Private government Tiebout hypothesis Urban political economy 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert W. Helsley
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