The Public Economy of Urban Communities: Papers

The Public Economy of Urban Communities: Papers

The Public Economy of Urban Communities: Papers

The Public Economy of Urban Communities: Papers

Excerpt

The second Conference on Urban Public Expenditures to be organized by the Committee on Urban Economics continues the exploratory probing of aspects of the urban public economy. The range of the topics discussed and of the techniques used indicates the lively developments in a field that is relatively undeveloped by economists. Papers discuss criteria for decision making, the choice between public and private supply, a theory of political behavior, analyses of voting behavior, optimal investment and management of several public services, externalities and public spending -- a diverse set but still only a sample of issues now being closely studied. The style of research is equally varied with papers containing healthy mixtures of speculative theorizing, theorizing based upon an accumulation of empirical finding, statistical investigations, analytical evaluation of institutions and empirical case studies.

The Conference on Urban Public Expenditures has the dual purpose of (1) contributing to the development of analytical models and techniques by which to study urban public expenditures and (2) distributing the findings of research results to a larger and more critical audience.

All of the papers presented at the conference report on work already in progress. None were written at the request of the sponsoring committee. Two consequences flow from this decision. There is no simple tight organizational principle which sets the framework for the conference, and some of the papers are progress reports rather than completed works. Despite this commitment to ongoing research, the papers do not represent a random selection of topics. Instead, they reflect the analytical bias of the committee and the development of a field of urban public economics which does have a specific structure.

The economist dealing with urban public expenditures is, in some ways, a very pretentious analyst. He presumes to examine subjects that range from technical services, such as sewage and water supply, to activities sensitive . . .

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