Synopses & Reviews
Albert Sbragia considers American urban government as an investor whether for building infrastructure or supporting economic development. Over time, such investment has become disconnected from the normal political and administrative processes of local policymaking through the use of special public spending authorities like water and sewer commissions and port, turnpike, and public power authorities.
Sbragia explores how this entrepreneurial activity developed and how federal and state policies facilitated or limited it. She also analyzes the implications of cities creating innovative, special-purpose quasi-governments to circumvent and dilute state control over city finances, diluting their own authority in the process.
“[A] brilliant synthesis of the literature on public investment. . . . An impressive scholarly work demonstrating command of diverse literatures. It is a must read for everyone interested in local public finance.”
--Political Science Quarterly
"In a sweeping reinterpretation of U.S. political economy, Sbragia convincingly demonstrates that the country has long had and continues to have highly effective industrial practices -- carried out by economically competitive state and local governments". Paul E. Peterson, Harvard University
Includes bibliographical references (p. 265-287) and index.