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A number of recent studies have argued that municipal governments have so significantly modified elements of their form of government that it is now difficult to distinguish form. However, none of these studies considers the influence of state government on these choices. This study uses a comprehensive data set of U.S. municipal governments with populations of at least 10,000 and a data set of state legislative provisions related to form of government to investigate the influence of state law on municipal form of government choices. The findings demonstrate that state law is associated with some choices of government form and that structures that hybridize the council-manager and mayor-council forms of government are still relatively uncommon.

Cite As:

State Level Autonomy and Municipal Government Structure: Influence on Form of Government Outcomes.”  American Review of Public Administration, 41 (5): 542-561. K. L. Nelson, 2011.

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Kimberly L. Nelson
Forms of Government