The Determinants of Municipal Structures on a Political-Administrative Dimension

Wenchi Wei, J. S. Butler, Edward T. Jennings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Adjusting municipal structures and cross-adoption of structural characteristics between mayor-council and council-manager municipalities have been common in the United States in recent decades. This research investigates seven essential structural characteristics of U.S. municipalities and constructs a municipal structure political-administrative index. We attempt to examine the determinants of municipal structures on a political-administrative dimension. We incorporate political conflict theory and class cleavage theory into our theoretical model of the cost analysis of citizens to explain municipal structure choices. Data are collected from the Decennial Census, American Community Survey, and three rounds of national surveys of municipal structures by the International City/County Management Association in 2001, 2006, and 2011. The final data set contains 6,777 municipality-year observations, and the empirical results demonstrate that municipal structure choices are statistically significantly associated with citizens’ socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. Citizens’ income levels play a crucial role in determining municipal structure changes during the sample period (2001-2011).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-202
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Review of Public Administration
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


  • inefficiency cost
  • monitoring cost
  • municipal structures
  • political-administrative dimension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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