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Metropolitan Governance as a Transnational Research Agenda: The International Metropolitan Observatory Project Jefferey Sellers University of Southern California Vincent Hoffmann-Martinot CERVL-IEP Bordeaux

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Metropolitan Governance as a Transnational Research Agenda:The International Metropolitan Observatory Project

Jefferey Sellers

University of Southern California

Vincent Hoffmann-Martinot

CERVL-IEP Bordeaux

Prepared for presentation at Urban Affairs Association Annual Meeting, Montreal, April 19-22, 2006.

the international metropolitan observatory imo project
The International Metropolitan Observatory (IMO) Project
  • Phase I (2003-2005): Comprehensive overview of metropolitanization in 15 countries
  • Phase II (2005-2007): Political ecology of the metropolis, an ongoing comparative study of metropolitan electoral behavior
  • Phase III (projected for 2007-2009): Metropolitan governance and inequality
  • Possible future phases: Comparative mass survey analysis, local elite surveys, output indicators
phase i findings
Phase I Findings
  • Hoffmann-Martinot and Sellers (eds.), Metropolitanization and Political Change (Wiesbaden: Verlag für Sozial-wissenschaften, 2005)
  • Metropolitan regions have become the predominant form of human settlement in developed countries
  • Metropolitanization of urban areas has led to growing horizontal intergovernmental fragmentation
  • New spatial inequalities have accompanied metropolitanization
    • Concentrations of disadvantage (urban and suburban)
    • Concentrations of relative privilege in affluent and middle class communities
  • Metropolitan spatial patterns of political partisanship and participation under investigation in Phase II
metropolitan governance what is the issue
Metropolitan Governance: What is the Issue?
  • Horizontal, as opposed to vertical forms of governance (Gregg 1974)
  • Decentralization has reinforced this (Dente 1990)
  • Beyond collective action to provide public goods, the distributive dimension is critical as an explanatory or a normative element
  • Growing inequality and diversity undermine collective or redistributive governance (Alesina, Baqir and Easterly 1999)
  • among interconnected metropolitan places, spatial inequalities can be critical to this effect
governance of or within metro areas
Governance: of or within metro areas?
  • Metropolitanization is not simply a creation of policy and the state, but a social and economic reality that policy and politics must address
  • The distributive dimension of supralocal policies and institutions can be more decisive for disparities than governance among metro units
  • Interlocal dynamics need to be considered in light of both metro structure and the horizontal workings of vertical institutions
alternative theoretical approaches
Alternative theoretical approaches
  • Social structural approaches highlight ethnic, class divisions (Gainsborough, Sellers)
  • Reformist institutionalism, and its “new regionalist” variant stress coordination, collective action (Dreier, Mollenkopf and Swanstrom)
  • Public choice stresses decentralization (Tiebout, Ostrom)
  • International political economy looks to globalization, economic imperatives and hierarchical policies (Sassen, Brenner)
  • Dynamics of local and metropolitan politics and governance (Oliver, Orfield)
toward a common framework
Toward a common framework
  • Possibility of a (partial!) theoretical synthesis
    • Some complementarities among theoretical approaches
    • Opposed alternative approaches can be tested via specific hypotheses
  • Resolving levels of analysis issues
    • Nested analytical framework
    • Testing through analysis of local and metropolitan variations
    • Supplementary analysis of multilevel processes
question one
Question One
  • Has there been a shift toward new forms of interlocal and metropolitan governance in response to metropolitan social and economic change? And have trends converged among different national systems?
question one alternative explanatory hypotheses
Question One: Alternative explanatory hypotheses
  • Transnational mobilization around competitiveness
    • Linked to metro governance?
    • Or to metro fragmentation?
  • New regionalism: need for cooperation?
  • Public choice: need for fragmentation?
  • Social structure: class, ethnic division undermine?
  • Political influences: Specific institutions, policies, parties, multilevel and local political dynamics? Are there political sources of solidarity between poor areas and others?
question two
Question Two
  • Has the delivery of general and redistributive governmental services reinforced or alleviated the disadvantages of residents in the poorest, most disadvantaged metropolitan localities?
question 2 alternative explanatory hypotheses
Question 2: Alternative explanatory hypotheses
  • Local spillovers from concentrated poverty prompt functional demands for more general government and social program resources (U.S. finding)
  • Tax capacities in poor communities lower (shown in U.S.)
  • Tiebout sorting in fragmented metros reinforces disadvantages of poor communities (U.S. evidence of this)
  • Metro mobilization around transnational economic links reinforces relative disadvantage of poor communities
  • Higher level government spending, redistribution, institutions, including welfare states and tax redistribution may counteract disparities (but in U.S. general government spending biases outweighs poverty-related expenditures for poor communities)
  • Fragmented local/metropolitan social and spatial structures may reinforce disadvantages
  • Metropolitan coalitions or party politics as a mechanism to overcome disadavantages? Or party politics as reinforcement of obstacles?
question three
Question Three
  • Has the fragmentation of government within metropolitan areas enabled distinctive, localized advantages in services or tax relief for affluent and middle-class concentrations (“secession of the successful”)?
question three alternative explanations
Question Three: Alternative explanations?
  • Empirical evidence on this question limited, even in the United States
  • Sources of affluent and middle class place advantages: fewer social needs/demands, bigger tax base, service privatization
  • General purpose government expenditures at higher levels favor these places (U.S. evidence)
  • Spatial segregation by class, other groups helps foster secession
  • Governmental fragmentation favors
  • More Tieboutian sorting opportunities in bigger, more diverse metro markets
  • Intermetro, transnational economic competition and links may reinforce
  • Political forces (parties, coalitions) with bases in these places: solidary or secessionist?
question four
Question Four
  • Have interlocal service arrangements and metropolitan governance overcome or reinforced metropolitan disparities in services and taxation?
question four hypotheses about variations
Question Four: Hypotheses about variations
  • Interlocal cooperation and metro governance may
    • Reinforce or overcome disadvantages of poor localities
    • Enable or rein in separation for affluent and middle class localities
    • Have a neutral effect
  • Hypotheses from Questions 2 and 3 can be utilized to explain these effects
  • Case studies of representative metropolitan areas in each country
  • Sampling of metropolitan areas
    • By the presence and absence of metropolitan arrangements
    • By more and less globally integrated metro areas
    • (if possible) Relative growth, decline
methods continued
Methods (continued)
  • Question 1
    • Descriptive mapping of patterns and evolution (as encompassing as possible) over 1990-2006
    • Comparison of metropolitan trajectories with alternative explanatory hypotheses
    • Historical analysis of sources, testing posited types of influences
methods continued19
Methods (continued)
  • Questions 2, 3 and 4
    • Selection of localities for case studies based on typological analysis from Phase II
    • Use budgets to compare services, tax rates, intergovernmental funds against comparative local indicators for:
      • local hardship (poverty, unemployment, etc.)
      • local indicators of affluent and middle class areas (income, education etc.)
    • Allocation of metro and higher level expenditure by locality to compare effects
    • Analysis of economic, social, political and other sources of variations
methods continued20
Methods (continued)
  • Questions 2, 3 and 4 (continued)
    • Use same periodicization as in mapping for Question 1 to compare trends
    • Where possible, more systematic statistical tests including multilevel analysis
    • To assess significance of policy, compare interlocal disparities in evolution of hardship indicators
workshop questions
Workshop Questions
  • Does this design address the right questions?
  • How feasible is this design in each country?
  • In what ways should the design be refined?
  • What are the leading/most promising causal hypotheses about sources of metro governance, metro disparities, and governance effects?