Course Subject
Course Number
Course Credit

Financing Urban Government

Course Description

This course explores the role of urban governments in the economy, their relationship to their suburban and rural neighbors and to the state and federal governments. Both the sources and uses of funds will be considered, including the relative merits of different tax instruments, and the implications of alternative spending decisions for equity and efficiency and the political economy of public decisions.

Most of this course is concerned with the analysis of policy issues in the financing of publicly provided services in large urban areas in the U.S. The analysis, and the readings, will be based on the approaches found in the literature of public economics--with its focus on equity and efficiency in resource allocation--and of urban economics--with its focus on the location of people and economic activity within and among urban areas. The course will begin with a review of the setting within which urban fiscal problems must be resolved: the special character of public finance in metropolitan communities, the nature of demand for public services in urban areas, and the roles of the complex networks and layers of governments. The second segment will deal in detail with the various ways in which governments in metropolitan areas raise funds to meet these demands and the implications for equity and efficiency.


CORE-GP.1018 and PADM-GP.2140

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