The Impact of Court-Ordered District Elections on City Finances
In 1972, the representation of blacks on city councils was only half of their share of the US population. Starting in 1975, courts sought to increase minority representation by ruling at-large city council elections unconstitutional in jurisdictions with a history of voter discrimination. Economic theory suggests that this court-induced shift toward district elections could lead to a common-pool problem and thus to greater government noninfrastructure spending. This paper provides empirical evidence that cities that adopt district elections increase noninfrastructure spending, thus providing empirical support for the common-pool problem. Since political institutions seldom change, the shift of US cities to district elections may be long-lasting, which suggests that the goals of equal representation and effective governance may be at odds.
Boylan, Richard T.
"The Impact of Court-Ordered District Elections on City Finances,"
Journal of Law and Economics: Vol. 62:
4, Article 3.
Available at: https://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/jle/vol62/iss4/3