Professor Nestor Davidson: Fordham Law School, Founder and Faculty Director, Urban Law Center

One area of focus that would help state and local governments is empirical research on links between particular features of governmental structure and policy outcomes.  To take local governments as an example, cities frequently change their macro structure with respect to questions such as strong mayor, weak mayor, council-manager form of governance, as well as more nuanced questions such as mayoral control of education policy, the independence of police departments, budget process, and the like.  States, similarly, tinker with their governmental structures with some frequency, albeit with more constitutional constraints. As states and local governments contemplate these changes, there is a relative paucity of contemporary research that links specific structural changes and outcomes across various metrics, whether cross-cutting (such as economic growth or socioeconomic and racial equity) or policy specific.

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