Type of Document Dissertation Author Johnson, Linda S. URN etd-04152005-170723 Title Constitutional Change in Local Governance: An Exploration of Institutional Entrepreneurs, Procedural Safeguards, and Selective Incentives Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Public Administration and Policy, School of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Richard C. Feiock Committee Chair Charles Barrilleaux Committee Member Fran Berry Committee Member Ralph Brower Committee Member Keywords
- Institutional Entrepreneurs
- Municipal Charters
- Local Governance Constitutions
- Procedural Safeguards
Date of Defense 2005-03-24 Availability unrestricted AbstractThis dissertation extends research in local governance constitutional change in a new direction and integrates several models of institutions to explain patterns of municipal charter change. This approach presents a new understanding of institutions, actors, and change in the municipal charter. One of the most important implications of this study is that multiple perspectives on the dynamics of local governance can be incorporated into a testable theory. This interconnection provides a comprehensive and dynamic perspective of the competition for governance rules.
This study differs from other studies of local constitutional change in five ways. First, the study concentrates on change in the most embedded level of the local institution, the local constitution. Second, it builds on Maserís (1998) transaction resource theory of local constitutional change by incorporating selective incentives for maintenance or change and including rejected proposed rules. Third, the study views all forms of charter change as constitutional change which allows the theory to include both charter revision and the more radical city-county consolidation as a continuum of local constitutional change.
Fourth, the study integrates entrepreneurs and demanders of the status quo into the theory of competition for governance rules and procedural safeguards, extending Ostromís Institutional Analysis Framework (1990). Finally, it moves entrepreneur studies to the constitutional level and argued that actors try to induce change in order to lock their preferences into the system.
Two methods are used to provide empirical evidence of maintenance or change in the system. The first method, case studies allow in-depth explorations of complex entities for evidence of dynamics, but can be difficult in comparing multiple complex systems. The second method, Qualitative Comparative Analysis, a Boolean method, integrates complex multiple characteristics of system complexity with in-depth characteristics of diverse entities to explore the phenomenon.
The central findings of the study focus on the choice of rules and the actors. In proposed consolidation charters, the electoral system rules that provide a safeguard for representation will be supported by minorities. Property owners, farmers, and business groups support rules that reduce the costs of government and protect their access to the governance structure.
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