Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Jurisdiction Size and Local Democracy: Evidence on Internal Political Efficacy from Large-scale Municipal Reform

  • DAVID DREYER LASSEN (a1) and SØREN SERRITZLEW (a2)
Abstract

Optimal jurisdiction size is a cornerstone of government design. A strong tradition in political thought argues that democracy thrives in smaller jurisdictions, but existing studies of the effects of jurisdiction size, mostly cross-sectional in nature, yield ambiguous results due to sorting effects and problems of endogeneity. We focus on internal political efficacy, a psychological condition that many see as necessary for high-quality participatory democracy. We identify a quasiexperiment, a large-scale municipal reform in Denmark, which allows us to estimate a causal effect of jurisdiction size on internal political efficacy. The reform, affecting some municipalities, but not all, was implemented by the central government, and resulted in exogenous, and substantial, changes in municipal population size. Based on survey data collected before and after the reform, we find, using various difference-in-difference and matching estimators, that jurisdiction size has a causal and sizeable detrimental effect on citizens' internal political efficacy.

Copyright
Corresponding author
David Dreyer Lassen is Professor of Economics, University of Copenhagen, Øster Farigmagsgade 5, Building 26, DK-1353 Copenhagen K, Denmark (david.dreyer.lassen@econ.ku.dk).
Søren Serritzlew is Professor of Political Science, Aarhus University, Bartholins Allé 7, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark (soren@ps.au.dk).
References
Hide All
Abadie Alberto, and Imbens Guido W.. 2008. “On the Failure of the Bootstrap for Matching Estimators.” Econometrica 76 (6): 1537–57.
Alesina Alberto, Baqir Reza, and Hoxby Caroline. 2004. “Political Jurisdictions in Heterogeneous Communities.” Journal of Political Economy 112 (2): 348–96.
Alesina Alberto, and Spolaore Enrico. 1997. “On the Number and Size of Nations.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 112 (4): 1027–56.
Almond Gabriel A., and Verba Sidney. 1963. The Civic Culture. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). 2008. Standard Definitions: Final Dispositions of Case Codes and Outcome Rates for Surveys. 5th ed. Lenexa, KS: AAPOR.
American National Election Studies (ANES). 1994. Continuity Guide to the American National Election Studies. Ann Arbor, MI: Center for Political Studies.
American National Election Studies (ANES). 2005. ANES Time Series Cumulative Data File. Codebook variable documentation file. www.electionstudies.org/studypages/cdf/anes_cdf_var.txt (accessed May 5, 2010).
Andersen Jørgen G. 2000. “Magt og afmagt: Nyt perspektiv på 'political efficacy.’” In Hvad folket magter: Demokrati, magt og afmagt [The Power of the People: Democracy, Power, and Powerlessness], eds. Andersen Jørgen Goul, Torpe Lars, and Andersen Johannes. Copenhagen: Jurist- og Økonomforbundets Forlag, 123–52.
Angrist Joshua D., and Krueger Alan B.. 2001. “Instrumental Variables and the Search for Identification: From Supply and Demand to Natural Experiments.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 15 (4): 6985.
Aristotle. 1948. Politics. Trans. Barker Ernest. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Banzhaf H. Spencer, and Walsh Randall P.. 2008. “Do People Vote with Their Feet? An Empirical Test of Tiebout's Mechanism.” American Economic Review 98 (3): 843–63.
Barabas Jason, and Jerit Jennifer. 2010. “Are Survey Experiments Externally Valid?American Political Science Review 104 (2): 226–42.
Barnard John, Frangakis Constantine, Hill Jennifer, and Rubin Donald B.. 2002. “School Choice in NYC: A Bayesian Analysis of an Imperfect Randomized Experiment.” In Case Studies in Bayesian Statistics, Volume V, Lecture Notes in Statistics Series, Vol. 162, eds. Gatsonis Constantine, Kass Robert E., Carlin Bradley, Carriquiry Alicia, Gelman Andrew, Verdinelli Isabella, and West Mike. New York: Springer, 397.
Benton J. Edwin, and Gamble Darwin. 1983. “City/County Consolidation and Economies of Scale: Evidence from a Time-series Analysis in Jacksonville, Florida.” Social Science Quarterly 65 (1): 190–98.
Berg Rikke, and Kjær Ulrik. 2005. Den danske borgmester [The Danish Mayor]. Odense: University Press of Southern Denmark.
Besley Timothy, and Case Anne. 2000. “Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies.” Economic Journal 110 (467): 672–94.
Bhatti Yosef, and Hansen Kasper M.. 2011. “Who ‘Marries’ Whom? The Influence of Societal Connectedness, Economic and Political Homogeneity, and Population Size on Jurisdictional Consolidations.” European Journal of Political Research 50 (2): 212–38.
Blom-Hansen Jens, Elklit Jørgen, and Serritzlew Søren. 2006. “Den store kommunalreform og dens konsekvenser.” In Kommunalreformens konsekvenser [The Effects of the Structural Reform], eds. Blom-Hansen Jens, Elklit Jørgen, and Serritzlew Søren. Århus, Denmark: Academica, 1136.
Blundell Richard, Dias Monica Costa, Meghir Costas, and Van Reenen John. 2004. “Evaluating the Employment Impact of a Mandatory Job Search Program.” Journal of the European Economic Association 2 (4): 569606.
Blundell Richard, and MaCurdy Thomas. 1999. “Labor Supply: A Review of Alternative Approaches.” In Handbook of Labor Economics, Vol. 3A, eds. Ashenfelter Orley C. and Card David. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1559–695.
Campbell Angus, Gurin Gerald, and Miller Warren E.. 1954. The Voter Decides. Evanston, IL: Row, Peterson.
Campbell Donald T. 1969. “Reforms as Experiments.” American Psychologist 24 (25): 409–29.
Christiansen Peter Munk, and Klitgaard Michael B.. 2008. Den utænkelige reform [The Unthinkable Reform]. Odense: University Press of Southern Denmark.
Clarke Harold D., and Acock Alan C.. 1989. “National Elections and Political Attitudes: The Case of Political Efficacy.” British Journal of Political Science 19 (4): 551–62.
Cook Thomas D., Shadish William R., and Wong Vivian C.. 2008. “Three Conditions under Which Experiments and Observational Studies Produce Comparable Causal Estimates: New Findings from Within-study Comparisons.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 27 (4): 724–50.
Dahl Robert A. 1967. “The City in the Future of Democracy.” American Political Science Review 61 (4): 953–70.
Dahl Robert A. 1989. Democracy and Its Critics. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Dahl Robert A., and Tufte Edward R.. 1973. Size and Democracy. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.
Dehejia Rajeev H., and Wahba Sadek. 2002. “Propensity Score Matching Methods for Nonexperimental Causal Studies.” Review of Economics and Statistics 84 (1): 151–61.
DeHoog Ruth H., Lowery David, and Lyons William E.. 1990. “Citizen Satisfaction with Local Governance: A Test of Individual, Jurisdictional, and City-specific Explanations.” Journal of Politics 52 (3): 807–37.
Finifter Ada W. 1970. “Dimensions of Political Alienation.” American Political Science Review 64 (2): 389410.
Finifter Ada W., and Abramson Paul R.. 1975. “City Size and Feelings of Political Competence.” Public Opinion Quarterly 39 (2): 189–98.
Hayes Bernadette C., and Bean Clive S.. 1993. “Political Efficacy—A Comparative Study of the United States, West Germany, Great Britain and Australia.” European Journal of Political Research 23 (3): 261–80.
Heckman James J., Ichimura Hidehiko, Smith Jeffrey, and Todd Petra. 1998. “Characterizing Selection Bias Using Experimental Data.” Econometrica 66 (5): 1017–98.
Heckman James J., Ichimura Hidehiko, and Todd Petra. 1997. “Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme.” Review of Economic Studies 64 (4): 605–54.
Ho Daniel E., Imai Kosuke, King Gary, and Stuart Elizabeth A.. 2007. “Matching as Nonparametric Preprocessing for Reducing Model Dependence in Parametric Causal Inference.” Political Analysis 15 (3): 199236.
Houlberg Kurt, and Pedersen Carsten Strømnæk. 2003. “Appendiks 1: Dataindsamling.” In Kommunestørrelse og lokalt demokrati [Municipal Size and Local Democracy], eds. Kjær Ulrik and Mouritzen Poul Erik. Odense: University Press of Southern Denmark, 207–10.
Iacus Stefano M., King Gary, and Porro Giuseppe. 2009. “Causal Inference without Balance Checking: Coarsened Exact Matching.” Harvard University. Unpublished manuscript.
Imbens Guido W., and Wooldridge Jeffrey M.. 2009. “Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation.” Journal of Economic Literature 47 (1): 586.
Jørgensen Lene P. 2006. “Hvor skal vi hen? Folkeafstemninger: Eliternes instrument eller folkets stemme?” In Stort er godt [Large Is Good], ed. Mouritzen Poul Erik. Odense: University Press of Southern Denmark, 167–87.
Kjær Ulrik, and Mouritzen Poul Erik, eds. 2003. Kommunestørrelse og lokalt demokrati [Municipal Size and Local Democracy]. Odense: University Press of Southern Denmark.
Lane Robert E. 1961. Political Life: Why People Get Involved in Politics. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.
Larsen Christian Albrekt. 2002. “Municipal Size and Democracy: A Critical Analysis of the Argument of Proximity Based on the Case of Denmark.” Scandinavian Political Studies 25 (4): 317–32.
Lassen David Dreyer. 2005. “The Effect of Information on Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Natural Experiment.” American Journal of Political Science 49 (1): 103–18.
Lolle Henrik. 2003. “Kommunalpolitisk selvtillid.” In Kommunestørrelse og lokalt demokrati [Municipal Size and Local Democracy], eds. Kjær Ulrik and Mouritzen Poul Erik. Odense: University Press of Southern Denmark, 162–76.
Lyons W. E., and Lowery David. 1989. “Governmental Fragmentation versus Consolidation: Five Public-choice Myths about How to Create Informed, Involved, and Happy Citizens.” Public Administration Review 49 (6): 533–43.
Madsen Douglas. 1987. “Political Self-efficacy Tested.” American Political Science Review 81 (2): 571–81.
Meyer Bruce D. 1995. “Natural and Quasi-experiments in Economics.” Journal of Business and Economic Statistics 13 (2): 151–61.
Morlan Robert L. 1984. “Municipal vs. National Election Voter Turnout: Europe and the United States.” Political Science Quarterly 99 (3): 457–70.
Morrell Michael E. 2003. “Survey and Experimental Evidence for a Reliable and Valid Measure of Internal Political Efficacy.” Public Opinion Quarterly 67 (4): 589602.
Muller Edward N. 1970. “Cross-national Dimensions of Political Competence.” American Political Science Review 64 (3): 792809.
Niemi Richard G., Craig Stephen C., and Mattei Franco. 1991. “Measuring Internal Efficacy in the 1988 National Election Study.” American Political Science Review 85 (4): 1407–13.
Oliver J. Eric. 2000. “City Size and Civic Involvement in Metropolitan America.” American Political Science Review 94 (2): 361–73.
Pollock Philip H. 1983. “The Participatory Consequences of Internal and External Political Efficacy: A Research Note.” Western Political Quarterly 36 (3): 400–9.
Rosenbaum Paul R., and Rubin Donald B.. 1983. “The Central Role of the Propensity Score in Observational Studies for Causal Effects.” Biometrika 70 (1): 4155.
Rubin Donald B. 1974. “Estimating Causal Effects of Treatments in Randomized and Nonrandomized Studies.” Journal of Educational Psychology 66 (5): 688701.
Shadish William R., Cook Thomas D., and Campbell Donald T.. 2002. Experimental and Quasi-experimental Designs for Generalized Causal Inference. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Tiebout Charles M. 1956. “A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures.” Journal of Political Economy 64 (5): 416–24.
Titus A. Constandina. 1981. “Shaping Attitudes towards Local Government: Factors That Influence Political Trust and Efficacy.” Urban Interest 3 (2): 3745.
Treisman Daniel. 2007. The Architecture of Government. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Verba Sidney, and Nie Norman H.. 1972. Participation in America. New York: Harper and Row.
Vetter Angelika. 2002. “Local Political Competence in Europe: A Resource of Legitimacy for Higher Levels of Government?International Journal of Public Opinion Research 14 (1): 318.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 16
Total number of PDF views: 249 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 817 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 15th December 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.