Title: Factorial determinants of urban policy
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00097659/00001
 Material Information
Title: Factorial determinants of urban policy
Physical Description: vi, 151 leaves. : illus. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Bryant, Stephen, 1943-
Publication Date: 1971
Copyright Date: 1971
Subject: Urban renewal   ( lcsh )
Urban policy   ( lcsh )
City planning -- United States   ( lcsh )
Political Science thesis Ph. D   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Political Science -- UF   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Thesis: Thesis -- University of Florida.
Bibliography: Bibliography: leaves 143-150.
Additional Physical Form: Also available on World Wide Web
General Note: Manuscript copy.
General Note: Vita.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00097659
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 000549721
oclc - 13285681
notis - ACX4018


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Factorial DeteriAna-ntg of JTrban Policy

SfE21U,11 BItYA'NT

YULF I LLI., &R.. 0 F T H E RE QU I RE14 1-21 T S F0 R T D R2, 0 F
Dorl'OR 0-12"



I would like to thank the neabers of my reading committee,

Drs. Manning Dauer, Richard Sutton, and Benjaoin Cormaai, for their

understanding and patience in assisting ne on the dissertation.

Their willingness to devote time out of their busy schedules to my

research is sincerely appreciated. Finally, I would like to thank

my wife for her encouragement and advice .while I have pursued this



ACKNOLEDEMENTS. . . . . ... . . .. . ..

LIST OF TABLS. . . . . . . . . .. . . .

ABSTRACT. . . . . . . . . . . . .


GOVERliENT . . . . . . . . . .





BIBLIOGRAPHY. . . . . . . . . . . .

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH . . . . . . . . .









84 /




POPULATIONS OF 25,000 OR OE. . . . . .




5. GUTrlAll SCALES O REFOIS . . . . . . .




CITI.S BY REGIOi . . . . . . . .

CITIES BY IDEX I. . .. . . . . ...

OF CITIES BY INDEX II. . . . . . . .




URBAN FISCAL ITEMS . . . . . . . .

AMERICA:; CITIES. . . . . . . . .












TABLES- Conti1nued

Tabl e Bag'



Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council of
the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Stephen Bryant

August, 1971

Chairman: Dr. Manning J. Dauer
l:ajor Department: Political Science

This research focuses on three areas of urban politics:

(1) urban governuental structure, (2) socio-economic environment of

cities, and (3) policy outputs of cities with populations of 25,000

or nore in 1960. First, an historic background of urban government is

given. Using Glendon Schubert's categories of public interest theories,

descriptions are made of urban political thought in the nineteenth

and twentieth centuries. Factor analysis is then used to determine

the dimensions of reformed city government, socio-econonic environment

of cities, and expenditure policies of cities. Factor scores for

reformism and environment are computed and used as predictors of policy

components. The results demonstrate that the most significant determinants

of policy are measures of demand for services from a city population.



Introduction: The Dimensions olf Urban Politics

Three foci of research in urban politics have been (1) the
structures of city government, (2) the socio-econo-mic characteristics
of cities, and (3) the policy outputs of local government. In each
of thesc areas a considerable body of literature has developed whiich
contains several generalizations about political behavior in cities.

The overall purpose of this study is to examine the various dimensions
in each of these areas and to explore their relationships. In an
effort to deal with the diverse nature of these areas of urban

politics, this research will employ factor analysis to examine the
dimensions of reformism, socio-economic characteristics, and tine policy

outputs of cities.
As an historical background for this study, Chanter I oives
an analysis of the various political theories that have influenced
forms of city government in Am-erica. In order to conceptualize the
diverse nature of these influences, the typolo-Y of public interest
theories developed by Gylendon Schulbert are used.1 Schubert describes
three cate-ories of thought: the idealist, the realist, and the
rationalist. Idealists view,, ad-inisiratioq as Ed-mund Burke perceived
rersnaiervr-en;i srmvdfo acutaiiyt h

public and is responsible only to the dictates of the common good. On

the other hand, realists think of administration as simply an extension

of the political process. Finally, rationilists think of adminis-

tration as value.-neutral and dependent upon the political process for

direction in policy.

In different historical periods, each type of theory has

affected the structure of city government. After the Revolutionary

War, the idealist model, taken from the federal system, was the major

influence. It was supplanted by the Jeffersonian-Jacksonian realist

thought with its emphasis on elective offices. Finally, within the

twentieth century, the rationalist theories contained in the reform

city government movement have been most prominent. The Model City

Charter of the National Municipal League is the epitome of rationalist


Because of the success which the reform government forces have

had, the dimensions of reformism in city government are explored in

Chapter II. Seven items from the Model Charter are examined in 667

cities with populations of over 25,000. These seven items are tested

by the use of two methods, Guttnan scaling and factor analysis, to

determine the dimensions of the complex phenomenon of reformism.

Three items produce a successful Guttoan scale, and scores are computed

for each city. The original seven items are factored into executive

and council reform dimensions.

In Chapter III, types of city reformism are described by show-

ing the regional distribution and socio-political characteristics of

reform government. Some contradictory evidence exists about the socio-

economic nature of reformed cities, and this research illustrates the

differences which exist between cities that have no reformed structures
and those that have adopted several features from the Model Charter.
The descriptions of reformism itt the precedin,; chapters serve

as a preface to an analysis of urban policies. Chapter IV demon-

strates the correlations between an index of Governmiental reform and
spendin- and taxing in cities.

Before continuing the study of policies with regression

analysis, a description of the socio-economic characteristics of
American cities is given in Chapter V. Thirty-seven variables are

factor analyzed and eight factors extracted which measure socio-

economic status, stage of family cycle, ethnicity, manufacturin- ex-

white deprivation. These eight factors along with the two political

variables described above and a measure of intergovernmental revenue

are used as predictors of fourteen spending and taxing policies.

Policies themselves are described with principal components

analysis. The common functions of cities--police, fire, sanitation,
parks, sewers, and highways form two distinct policy areas. Services
such as parkts and fire protection which require personnel who work,

directly with citizens form one component, and services that are pri-

marily custodial functions to maintain sewers and highways form another.

The three ori-inal foci: -overnriental structure, demo-raphic

environment, and -overnamental policy are all found to have under-

lying dimensions which are revealed through factor analysis. These
dimensions are related in important ways, and re-ression analysis


demonstrates the relative imract which structure and environment have

on policies. Both are important for understanding the level of

policy outputs.

City Government and Theories of the Public Interest

Changes in the structure of local and city governments have

been a part of American politics from the Revolutionary War on.:ard.

In contrast to the national government which experienced only one

total revision when the Constitution replaced the Articles of Con-

federation, city governments have been noted for the frequency of

their structural changes. In fact, one author describes the history

of nineteenth-century city governments as being marked by "constant

revision.'"2 Likcowise, the twentieth century has also seen large

numbers of cities cIaining fo0L.;s of city government. One writer

estimates that approximately sixty per cent of American cities have

changed their structure since 1900, and many have done it more than

once within those years.3

In the twentieth century, the Eajor impetus for change in city

government has cone from reform organizations, especially the National

Municipal League. Although this reform group never officially en-

dorsed the commission plan, it did praise it as a replacement for the

ward-elected and sometimes machine-run mayor-council system. Essenti-

ally, the commission form provides for a combination of policy-making

and administration duties in the hands of a few commissioners elected

at-large. After an energetic promotion of this form of government, 151

cities adopted it between the years of 1905 and 1911. However, the


enthusiasm that reformers held for the commission structure was short-

lived. Richard Childs had conceived of the mana-er-council plan during

the early part of the century, and it quickly replaced 'the commission

form as the most popular arrangement of city government -ameng, reformers.

Adoptions of the manager-council plan were so widespread -that in the
thirty-year period from 1908 to 1938, 451 cities changed to this plan,,

adopting varying forms of the Model CityCharter developed by the

National Municipal League. 5 From the 1930s to 19160, changes in city

government accelerated, and almost forty per cent of American cities

fourths of the cities that did change their governments adopted the

manager-council plan. 6Consequently, there are over 1100 cities now

that have in operation some variation of the manager-council fors of

government, an obvious testimony to the success of the reform movement.7

Such fundamental changes in so large a number of cities has

generated considerable attention from writers interested An urban
affairs. Unfortunately, however, most of the earlier: works published

on municipal politics have little scholarly merit to thea. In fact,

Lawrence Herson describes the textbook literature on municipal govern-

ment prior to 1957 as being a "lost world." 8 H accuses these text-

books of ignoring any standards of proof for their generalizations

about government structure, and he castigates their prescriptive

and dogmatic reliance upon outd-ated "principles* of sciientlific manage-

ment. In essence these texts are trying to maintain thre simplistic

have been spent. Or, as Herson says, ". . the city government text

is still fighting the Tieed Ring of the 1870's."9 After Herson's

jcreiiad and the critique by others about the state of the literature

on urban government,10 several social scientists have recently ex-

amined changes in city structure and drawn generalizations without

laboring under the normative search for "good government."11

There is far from unanimous agreement among these writers on

the causes and effects of changes in city government. However, one of

the more interesting theories of change has come from Edfward Banfield

and James Q. Wilson. It associates a desire for reform government with

a particular ethos uhich they call "public-regardingness."12 Derived

from a Yan:cc-Protcstant, middle-class value structure, this ethos

assuies that a geiinral and abstract co:uiur.ity interest exists and by

replacing ward representation with at-large elections, putting non-

partisanship in the place of partisan contests, and adding professional

managers to city administration the general civic "good" will be

attained. In other words, ". . nonpartisanship, the council-manager

plan, and at-large elections are all expressions of the reform ideal

and of the middle--class political ethos."13 Furthermore, these authors

claim that the success of the reform movement is more a reflection of

the extent of the public-regarding ethos among urban citizens than the

degree to which corruption existed and was overcome by reformers in

municipal government. "Indeed, it wasin relatively small, middle-

class cities, where indeed those persons (bosses and boodlers) had

never existed, that reform measures were most popular. Many such cities

adopted the Model City Charter in its entirety almost at once."1'

The opposite of public-regardingness is private-regardingness.

This ethos is associated with the immigrants that came to the United

States in the latter part of the nineteenth and the first part of the

twentieth century. This last ethos is not clearly defined, but it

has been interpreted to mean that ethnic groups are inclined to favor

unreformed structures of partisan, ward-elected, mayor-council govern-

ments.15 And in one particular study, ethnic populations have been

associated statistically with the mayor-council plan.16

The origin of the proposition that two ethoses exist and in-

fluence attitudes toward forms of city government can be traced to

an oft-quoted passage in Richard Hofstadter's Age of Reform.

Out of the clash between the needs of the immigrants
and the sentiments of the natives there emerged two
thoroughly different systems of political ethics. . One
founded upon the indigenous Yankee-Protestant political
tradititions, and upon middle class life, assumed and
demanded the constant, disinterested activity of the
citizen in public affairs, argued life ought to be run,
to a greater degree than it was, in accordance with gen-
eral principles and abstract laws apart from and superior
to personal needs, and expressed a common feeling that
government should be in good part an effort to moralize
the lives of individuals while economic life should be
intimately related to the stimulation and development
of individual character. The other system founded upon
the European background of the immigrants, upon their
unfamiliarity with independent political action, their
familiarity with hierarchy and authority, and upon the
urgent needs that so often grew out of their migration,
took for granted that the political life of the individual
would arise out of family needs, interpreted political
and civic relations chiefly in terms of personal obli-
gations, and placed strong personal loyalties above
allegiance to abstract codes of law or morals.17

The central point which Banfield and Wilson draw from Hofstadter's

description of the two ethics is the different way in which a sense

of "community good" is perceived. The Anglo-Saxon Protestant

middle-class value structure urges the citizen to participate in

politics and to actively "seek the good of the community 'as a

whole.'" On the other hand, the immigrants' style of politics

focused on the local neighborhood ani "took no account of the com-

munity."18 It is this emphasis upon the concept of the common good

which marks the fundamental difference in the two ethoses and conse-

quently produces a political cleavage of contesting factions in city


While Eanfield and Wilson attempt to associate reform govern..

ment with a public-regarding ethos and an interest in the good of the

community as a whole, other authors have questioned the relationship

of reform: structures of government to democratic tradition and practice.

Duane Lockard contends that the reliance upon the "expertise" of a

city manager tho is without direct accountability to an electorate is

unprecedented in American democratic tradition.19 For example, in a

case study of Utah city government, Garth Jones concludes that reform

government is basically incompatible with the democratic and religious

ethic of that state. The Jacksonian frontier democracy of Utah and

the Mormon emphasis on lay leadership are antithetical to the principles

of manager-council government; consequently manager-council government

was accepted and then rejected by some of the cities of that state

because of the incongruence in the value systems.20

Other studies have noted some of the effects of reform govern-

ment on political practices. Robert Lineberry and Edmund Fow;ler find

that reform structures tend to reduce cleavages in city policy outcomes,21

and Robert Alford and Eugene Lee find that with cleavages muted,


electoral turnout is lower in cities with reforzied government.22 Some

studies even suc-est that reform struct-ures were originally adopted as

a means by which h business elites could dominate city government.23

Since reform -overnment has been rmost widely accepted in states with

one-party systems,24 Raymond Wolfinper and John Field sug,-est that,

in the case of the South, reform -overnments are numerous because

they alloa whites to exclude blacks from city affairs.25

These studies indicate that the tenets of reforiaism--non-

partisanship, neutral professionalism in administration, and at-large

elections--have the effect, or even the intent, of frustrating parts

of the democratic tradition, a tradition that says that elections

should consist of competing alternatives from which voters choose and

thereby allo'a a majority to influence decisions.26

The general laclk of conflict in policy-making in reform cities

and the absence of competition for offices apparently fulfills the

intentions of the founder of the manaver-council plan, Richard Childs.

In reviewing the effect of reform government in Dayton, Ohio, in

1948,, he says, "There's 'nothin- in sight to stir anybody's emotions

....Political strife becomes virtually extinct as voters continue

to elect 'citizen' candidates."'27 Childs does not view reform gov;ern-

ment as undemocratic; instead he feels that the common good of a

community is served by reducing the level of conflict in decision-

making through the adoption of such measures as a professional city

In a recent analysis of Childs' thought, this type of attitude

has been described as rationalisticc." Invoking typologies developed

by Glendon Schubert, John Porter East portrays Childs as a rationalist

or a theorist who believes that public policy can be decided through

the democratic process and then be administered, even scientifically

executed, by a value-neutral corps of city bureaucrats.28 The

rationalists are defined as positivists who in some instances are pro-

ponents of what is called the "scientific management school." They

believe that administration is fundaLientally a technical process void

of normative judgments and divorced from the quagmire-like business of

politics. The maxims of the rationalists are vox populi vox Dei, and

"the expert should be on tap, not on top."

As exiauplcs of itionalist theory, the reform movement in

general, and Childs in particular, says that a small city council of

no more than seven members can decide public policy and then turn

their decision over to the city manager with the confidence that he

will carry out the council's wishes in a technical and professional

manner. Childs admittedly designed the system after the structure of

a corporation, with the city council acting as the board of directors

for the citizen stock-holders. Anrd, according to Childs, if the

system is operating as it should, there ought to be an absence of

conflict in city politics. The system should operate so smoothly

that cleavages should not disrupt this well-designed system of govern-

ment. In other words, it should operate as Dayton, Ohio did when

Childs wrote his article in 1948.

The central feature of thisfers of municipal government is,

of course, the manager iwho is supposed to deal vith the problems of

administration, removed from the distractions of political pressures.

His role represents the empha-Lsis upon strong executive power, but

this centralized authority is shielded from the conflicts in the body

politic by the lay council which operates as a group without any

sin-le outstanidin; leader. However, the claim that ranacgers are

independent of the political process has increasin-ly come under

questionin- in the literature on city government. In fact, the organ

for the International City flana,,ers' Association, Public I-1anagement,

went so far a-, to print an exchange on the matter between two writers

who took diametrically opposite vie,;points, one saying that the mana-

-er is a political leader and the other sayinE that he is not.29

And even the 1952 revision of the ICMA Code of Ethics calls the

manager a communityy leader" instead of completely divorcing him

from public affairs as the 1938 Code did. A series of studies point

out thIe political role which the manager plays. One in particular by

Gladys Kammerer, Charles Farris, John DeGrove, and Alfred Clubok finds

that in Florida there is a significant relationship between the length

of time that a manager remains in a city and the style of politics

that there is in that community. Competition am-ong leadership cliques

is related to whether a manager stays or leaves because long tenure

is associated with a stable leadership maintaining control.30

Obviously such a finding contradicts the theoretical intent of Childs

to the contrary, his original ideas remain fixed, and he is unper-

suaded that another system of government would best serve the public


The rationalist school, of which Childs is a part, is one of

three broad categories described by Glendon Schubert in The Public

Interest: A Critioue of the Theory of a Political Concept. The other

two groupings are the "realists" and the "idealists." Schubert's

scherea of dividing ideas about the public interest into these three

classifications is useful not only in analyzing the theories of Richard

Childs and the manager-council plan but also other ideas about city

government structure as well. Before applying Schubert's schema, a

further elaboration of his typologies is presented.31

In order to discrimirnate among the ideas of these three,

Schubert discusses the relationship of each type to three aspects of a

democratic society: the public political parties, and interest groups.

The rationalists are pro-public, pro-party, but oppose special interest

groups. Childs endorses national political parties but rejects their

function for city politics.

The realists follow the tradition of Arthur Bentley. They

are also pro-public and pro-party, but they are pro-interest groups

where the rationalists are not. Essentially this type believes that

the public good will best be served by the free competition acong

groups at all stages of the policy--aking process. In other words, to

them, administration is simply another party of the overall phenomenon

of politics, and it cannot be accurately discussed otherwise.

The idealists are pro-public, but they oppose both parties and

interest groups. Essentially, they believe that administrators should

play the nost important roles in policy-mah-ing,, and,operating as

philosopDher_!kinos, decide policy on the basis of the dictates of con-

science and a higher law. A neutral civil service of elites approaches

the concept of administration which the idealists endorse.

Although ratio-nalist theories of reform government have been

predominant in the tw-entieth century, in the nineteenth century the

competing fors of municipal government came from the idealist an" the

realist types as described by Schuabert. It is only with the rise of

the literature on scientific mtanagenent that the rationalist category

developed in city government; therefore it can be virtually ignored in

city governments in early, post-Revolutionary 'Jar America.

Idealist and Realist, Theories of the
Nineteenth century

America of the late 1700's was oierwhelminvly rural, and the

few cities that did exist were small compared with toaay's me.galopolies.

At the time of the Revolutionary War, only five cities had populp-tions

of over 8,000, Philadelphia, New York-, Boston, Charleston, and Nle-4port,

and these cities, added to the few others that existed$ held less than

three per cert of the total population of the country.' However, the

Revolutionary W-ar marlrked a period of change in -overn~mental structure

for not only th~e national government but also for the government of

cities. Prior to the war, American cities had for the most Da~rt

followed some variation of the En;Jish systeD of boroughs. The governor

of the colony would appoint a mayor w:ho would serve with a few other

officers such es a recorder and treasurer along with an elective council.

The major exception to this pattern was the N'ew: England township. The

change after the war meant primarily that the power for the legal

organization of cities noved from the governors to the state legis-

latures. This change meant that the form of city government w:as in-

fluenced by the sane political forces that were operating in state

matters and in national politics as well.

In the post-war era, the most significant political movement

was the rise of the Federalist Party and the idea which they promoted

of government by a propertied elite. The most important documents of

Federalist ideology are of course, The Federalist papers with their

theoretical arguments for the Constitution. Clendon Schubert singles

out the tenth paper by Madison as the embodiment of the idealist

theory of the public interest. As Schubert says,

Madison's express opposition to the dangers of both
political parties and interest groups, which he felt
could be equally pernicious and enemies of good
government, remains the logical (though often un-
articulated) premise underlying the position of con-
temporary Idealist theorists of the public interest.33

Madison rejects the vying for power that would accompany the rise of

parties and interest groups, or "factions" as he calls self-interested

political divisions, because he believes that such competition is

inimical to the commonweal. He argues that legislative bodies that

represent sufficiently diffused interests will be capable of deciding

policy that is in the public interest even better than the people

themselves could, or in Madison's words, ". . the public voice,

pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more

consonant to the pu-blic good than if pronounced by the people them-

selves, convened for the pur;Ose."3 Essentially Kadison's position

is anti-political. He denies the lelgitir-acy of majority rule because

he says tLat a united majority can only act unjustly toward the

minority. In the place of r.ass participation in policy-nalhing, Miaaison

substitutes accomaodation among a few representatives. He believes tlla)t

in a large, extensive nation, special interests and local prejudices

will be diluted, allowing these men of "enlightened views. and virtuous

sentiments" to enact policies in the common interest of the republic.

After the Constitution was adopted, some American cities were

attracted to certai-n features of the federal system of government, and

they based their own, structures on the model presented in the Con-

stit~utio-n. The two niost prominent exa'_mples were Philadelphia and

Baltimore. In 178.9, Philadelphia enacted a system which consisted of

(1) thirty common councilors elected by free men for three-year terms,

(2) fifteen aldermen elected by property holders for seven-yeaT terms,

and (3) a mayor indirectly elected for the city by the aldermEn. The

federal model was followed in these ways: The bicamieral legislative

body of the city was elected from different constituencies, freemen an-d

property holder,,; the nayor was indirectly chosen; and in 1799 the
mayor wa ie ppointive power ov.er executive office-s.35Eaior

also had a bicam,-eral council in its chiarter of 1796. The first chamDber

was elected by voters who Det the city's highi property qualifications,

and the other body was indirectly chosen by an electoral colle-e which

also elected the mayor. The use of the electoral college, however,
was n apectof tat poltic an notbasd onthenatonalexaple

but the veto po,.wer given the mayor ;as a feature borrowed from the

federal governmentt3

Baltinore and Philadelphia were the nost innovative cities in

this period. Most of the other fifty-seven incorporated cities con-

tinued to follow. their colonial or Revolutionary patterns with only

slight amcndbents. In these patterns, city government performed few

functions and vas consequently a relatively insignificant level of

government. However, the structural changes that did occur reflected

the emerging pattern of a mayor and council system w;ich Philadelphia

and Enlticore had established. The increasing authority of the mayor

included not only a veto power over acts passed by the city council but

in sonc instances police powers and even the granting of certain

licenses in ifew York and Albany.37 Although the use of bicameral

councils vas confined for the most part to eastern cities-Pittsburgh,

Boston, and 'iew York, some western cities-such as Detroit and St. Louis

employed it.

These structural innovations in city government carried with

them ideas which can in Schubert's terms be called idealistic. These

structural arrangements were adopted in an attempt to emulate the

federal system of checks and balances, and they reflect Madison's

antipathy toward majority rule. Bicameralism andthe executive veto

emphasize accozmiodation among elected leaders in order for policies

to be enacted. With special interests divided by bicameral chambers

and restrained by the veto power, "factions," even majority factions,

could not usurp the common interest. Policy-making became more the

direct responsibility of the representatives who were forced to bargain

among themselves in order to enact measures. In general these

structural arrangenents reduced public participation in the policy

process, ancl the restricted franchise at that time limited participants

overall so thiat representatives were expected to develop policies

moree consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people


While idealist theory influenced some city forms at the start

of the nineteenth century, opposite ideas of local. Sovernaent were

being proposed by Thomas Jefferson. Whether correctly or not, Franci

Lieber traces the word "1self-governzent" lack to Jefferson himself,3

and in several instances Jefferson ex-pressed himself on the subject o

local -overiiant. Oue of Jelffersonls best-kno,.n ideas is his distrust

of urban masses. "The mobs of great cities add just so much to the

support of pure government, as sores do the strength of the huian. bod 3

Jefferson felt that concentrations of people who depend upon manufactr

politically corruptible. At the end of his Presidential admiinistratin

Jefferson's views on manufacturing had ch-ang-ed, and he re-cognized h

necessity of it for American national independence. Nevertheless i

strong rural bias was echoed numerous times later on as ruaral and

urban interests clasihed.4

Jefferson's ideal is the a--rarian life, which he depictsath

chosen labor of God. The yeor-aa farmer is the repository of viru

and foundation for "pure governinent."1 And Jefferson is quite expii

desires snail units which will allow for thc maximum participation of

individuals in government; hence each individual can receive training

in the civic arts in order to increase their own self-government.

Such a system is necessary to preserve freedoms from a strong,

centralized government.

Jefferson looked upon local government as only one unit in his

overall scheme of a hierarchy of governmental arrangements. He con-

ceived of layers of governments each with specific functions to

perform, and the power of government was to be divided accordingly.

Because of Jefferson's interest in a rational organization of govern-

mental duties, '. Hardy '.icuwar says that he was really operating as

a French utilitarian and was probably influenced by the ideas of Turgot

and his plans for the divi sion of French government under Louis DVI.41

However, in Jefferson's plan the system was to be a democratic one with

the national government concerned with foreign and federal matters and

the states dealing with citizen affairs. For this purpose, states were

to be divided into counties and the counties into "wards." It was

the unit of the vards that Jefferson saw as the foundation of the whole

structure. Because it would be the form of government closest to the

citizen, the wards would elicit the most participation by the citizens

and carry on the nost essential duties of government: protection,

adjudication, education, roads, welfare, and voting supervision.

Furthermore, Jefferson saw these governmental duties being performed by

officers elected directly by the people.

Relying on such small, close-knit communities is, in Jefferson's

view, not only the best way to develop an entire nation of responsible

and loyal citizens but also the nost efficient means of providing the

services that he thinks citizens require. As he says, the wards

. will relieve the county administration of nearly
all its business, will have it better done, and by
making,, every citizen an acting member of the govern-
went, aud in the offices nearest and most interesting
to him will attach him by his strongest feelings to
the independence of his country and its republican

Also the wards could be called together on the same day to voice their

opinions on any point for the state to act. In other words, the mrards

would allow for direct dem-ocracy to operate statc-w,,ide.

Jefferson is unsparing in his praise of the wards. "These

wards, called townships in New En-land . have proved themselves

the wisest invention ever devised by the wit of man. Do 1, 11- B

de Tocqueville and Jefferson were deeply impressed by the townships

of New England, and Jefferson was so much so that he thought that the

nation should be based on them. But there is considerable debate

today among contemporary historians whether the tkow.,nshLiis of colonial

New England were the models of democracy that Jefferson assumes they

were.4 A modern study of a New Png-land town by Arthlur Vidich and

Joseph Bensman finds a moribund and monopolistically controlled
system, run by an aaging- elite.45 Toeeee hug efro a

have overesti7,ated the political and social virtues of township

democracCD adi eeal man's capacity foreaightened sl-oeaet

his ideas represent a contrastin- model of local government to the one

developed from, the federal system, He used a governiiint based upon

participation of the citizens and pur-posefully k:ept small to encourage

Lven though Jefferson spoke of the township system as an ideal

form of government, "the wisest invention ever devised by the wit of

man," he did not think that it would operate without conflict.4 6 In a

letter to Taylor he says, "'. .. an association of men w'.ho will not

quarrel with one another is a thing which never yet existed, from the

greatest confederacy of nations down to a town meeting or a vestry."47

Thus, in opposition to the idealist position, Jefferson approved the

clash of interests as necessary to the operation of a society that is

maintaining freedom for its citizens. Therefore, when he learned in

Paris of Shay's rebellion, he said "I hold it that a little rebellion,

now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political

world as stores in the physical." W'lhile Jefferson may have urged a

ward syste:i of ho-og-eneous yeoman farmers as the foundation of the

American Arcadia, he recognized that conflicts would occur in politics

and accepted them as necessary elements in the workings of its process.

Little needs to be said about Jefferson's belief in the role

of parties in American politics. As founder of the Jeffersonian

Republicans and successful leader in the opposition to the Federal-

ists, his activities laid the groundwork for the party system in the

United States. With Jefferson's advocacy of parties, acceptance

of interests in policy formation, anddesire for elective local almin-

istrators, his ideas can be characterized in Schubert's terms as

realist. Therefore, his views on local government constituted an

alternative to the idealist theory of Madison.

The impact of Jeffersonian theories of local government cane

after his administration and during the time of political ferment in

state and local systems. Durin- the 1820's some states begant le

their cons titutionz. Massachusetts did so in 1820, followed by Yew

York in 1821, and then Virginia in 1829. In each of these instances

conflicts arose over Pundamental questions such as surfrage, the

judiciary, and religious qualifications for office. It was at this

time that the Federalists were forced to bare the essential elements

of their political philosophy. Their failure to adapt to the changing

social conditions and political demands of that tine contributed to

their decline and eventual disappearance.50 The Jacksonian version

of the Jeffersonian tradition brought to the forefront during this

time the role of the party systefa and the emphasis upon citizen

participation in government. Jackson's extension of the belief in

popular paiticip:-tuion co;,istEul of the ,,ideninn- of th-e sfreuse

of the spoils system, and rotation in office. AlthouSgh Jackson removed

no more offLiceholders than Jefferson did, he provided the rationale for

his actions in his inaugural address in which he justified replacing

officials as an expression of democracy.

While these political changes were taking place, cities had

begun to grow and add new services, such as police, sewers and water,

street cleaning and lighting, sidewalks, and fire protection. Govern-

mental reorganization occurred as a consequence of these new functions,

and in Yew Yorlk City the council ,noved fro-n a committee e as overseeing

the new services to the Use on appointedd officials in 10.later, in

a spas,, of democratic fervor, the charter of 1809 made elective eight

York did to the new democratic ideas of local governmeilt. At the

Virginia Constitutional convention in 1829, a debate arose over the

office of justice of the peace. Proponents of changing the position to

an elective one even quoted Jefferson as favoring the idea, but in the

end the forces of Marshall and Madison prevailed.52 The justices of

the peace remained appointive ard under the domination of the landed


However, for the nost part, by the middle of the nineteenth

century, the intact of Jeffersonian-Jacksonian notions of local govern-

ment were widespread. Examples of the use of the long ballot were the

charters of San Francisco in 1850, and Chicago in 1851. Both cities

provided elective officials for treasurer, marshall tax collector,

and atLorrne,. Ahd, for the liew sturvices of the cities, San Francisco

elected the street co:uissioner, and Chicago elected a chief and tw:o

assistant engineers. The Ohio general law of 1852 provided that

Cincinnati and Cleveland elect eight officials that included a civil

engineer, fire engineer, and superintendent of markets.53 Clearly,

the new structures of local government emphasized representation in

administration, representation that included parties and special


The Idealist Genteel Reformers

The democratizing efforts that were adopted in the cities

became a framework in which major social and economic changes were

absorbed. During the thirty years from 1860 to 1890, the urban


population increased from sixteen per cent to twenty-nine per cent of
the national total. By the 1890's, cities were growing three ti-7es
as fast as rural areas.54 The political response to these chan[ges wa
epitomized by the gro,,,th of the political machines.
The partisan basis of municipal politics with the widespread
use of the spoils system and the multiplicity of office holders and
city boards had been adopted when the United States was still a
relatively homo-eneous population. However, these same neasureswhc
had been established in the name of democracy were called corruptive
when the tide of foreign immigrants began to come to the urban centers
of America. These new citizens were unskilled in the ways of American
politics, and their circumstances were easily exploited by city
political machines. The growing city services created a new bure_ucracy
Which the machines filled with persons who delivered their votes ani,
loyalty to the Dolitical bosses. The system that resulted from this
political union of the immigrants to the political machines began in
New York as an electoral strategy on the party of the minority
opposition, Tanmany Hall. The upper-class Whig aiercantile interest's
controlled New York, and as a teans of overcoming their domination,
Tammany Hall look,-ed to the new,,ly iamigrated Irish for electoral support
"The leaders of Tafqm7any Haill had no love for the Irishi in the 1S40s,3
but they led the ayin the systematic care and h,_,ndling- of -reenhorns,
the practice of exciianrin- civic training for electoral 'support.,,"55
The, electoral "support" which Tammany Hall received eas so extensive
ure 3s"'edta teCtzn'Ascain smae hti 81

of the 130,000 voters, one-half were controlled by appointment to

public office, letter of contracts, employment on public works,

issuance of licenses, suspended sentences or nonprosecution of

indictments, and other means.56

While Taumany Hall and "Boss" 'Teed became the stereotype

of the political Lachineis in the cities and the Irish immigrant voter

was lined to the rise of such systems, Lincoln Steffens concludes

that actually the corruption of American city government was the

fault of the general population. "The nisgovernment of the American

people is the misgovernment by the American people.57 He notes that the

Gas Ring of James Mcilanes operated just as corruptly in Philadelphia,

the most native A.:erican city, as did the political machines in

German St. Louis, Scandinrvi.in i!i.nncpoolis, end Scotc.h Presbyterian

Pittsburgh. Although i.iigrant groups formed the political base of

many machines, Pendergast in Kansas City and Crump in Memphis showed

that immigrants were a sufficient but not necessary cause for the

existence of machines. Consequently, the description of Yankee

Protestant and immigrant ethics given by Hofstadter in the passage

quoted above can only be trken as a very general assessment with

notable exceptions. Yankee-Protestant populations could support machines

as well as innigrant populations.

Although there is disagreement on the causes of machine

politics in American cities, there was a growing consensus among many

observers that the American government in those cities was overwheln-

ingly bad. In The American Co.anonwealth, Lord Bryce concluded that

city government in America was "the one conspicuous failure of the


United States."-8 And, in 1890, Andrew WVhitc said, -ith very few

exc,-ptions, the city governments of the United States are the worst in

Christendori--the riost ex-pensive, the most inefficient, and the most

corrupt." 59 Thesle te, oft-quoted statements represented a groundswell

of dissatisfaction toward the end of the 'nineteenth century which

sou-ht to expose and eliminate the corruption which followed the

Civil 'iar. Journalism was an important part of this mood of change.

The initial success of the 17,ew York Times, and the political cartoons

of Thomas ast combined with Samuel Tilden to expose and indict the

Tweed Rins.. Their success led to a whole series of publications con-

cerned with public problems. From 1886 to 1890, magaziness such as

Literary Digest, Arena, and Forun appeared. Even the more general

journals re-flected the new interest in municipal problems, and one

author estimates that one-third of Atlantic, Harzner's, Scribner's,

Cosonlitajn, and the Nation dealt with matters related to the cities.0
It was the Nation, and its editor, E. L. Godkin, which

.reflected a distinct collection of ideas which has been called iM'an-

chester Liberalism in America. And a group which looked upon Godkin's

Nation as their "bible" was the mugrnumps. Concentrated primarily in

the Northeast around 3aston and N7,ew York, the muggumps were a journal-

istic, legal elite who drew support from "people like themselves--

the college-bred, Protestant, urban, middle class."61 This group was

born in disillusionment with party politics. -,hen the Republica-n Con-

vention, in 1834 nominated Mlaine, relatively small number of

Republicans publicly defected from the party and ur-ed the election of

Democratic candidate, the rugw.runps formed loose organizations, among

them the Massachusetts Reform Club. However, this club was actually

the pivot organization for several satelliteclubs which specialized

in such reforms as civil service, lower tariffs, secret ballots and

clean city government.

Ostensibly, the mugw.umps urged independence in partisan

politics; however, they were essentially anti-party, having never

recovered from the nomination of Blaine. Because of their position

on parties, they evoked considerable wrath from aspiring politicians

and party leaders. One of the more colorful descriptions came from

Theodore Roosevelt who called them, among other things, "those political

and literary hermaphrodites the MuGu:ps."62 Roosevelt was reacting

to the fact that he had chosen to associate with politicians, and

politicians were generally to be avoided by the mugdumps who thought

of them only as undesirable persons and did not hesitate to condemn

then as a class. There was even a note of pettiness in their attitude

about politicians because they thwarted Henry Cabot Lodge's election

to the Harvard Board of Overseers because he had backed Blaine in
1834. Equally despised along with the politicians were the newly

rich entrepreneurs with their favor-seeking manipulation of politicians.

The special interests that these men represented were viewed as giving

rise to a "Chromo-Civilization" in Amrerica that engendered the "grow-

ing tendency to believe that everybody is entitled to whatever he can

buy, from the Presidency down to a street-railroad franchise."

Despite the fact that the nuwu.nps shunned associations with

politicians and parties, they were interested in civic life and showed

a true passion for public affairs. Their major contribution to reform

was the civil service. After the Pendleton Act of 1883, they urged

merit systeri for both New York and Boston, ani these two cities had

such systems by 1888. Civil service wa,; their chief oal because

the concept of a technical elite chosen on the basis of expertise

represented the most fundamental part of their some,.hat ill.-defined

set of beliefs. While consciously trying to import Eenthamite notions

of utilitarian reform, they were, in effect, drawing on the notions

of representation developed by Ednund Rurke. It was Burke who pressed

forward the idea that leaders should be free to seck the national

welfare unhamp~ered boy considerations of local interests. Similarly,

the mu,-,iumps sought a class of civil servants who aould develop

policies that were divorced from partisan or special interests. It

is this notion of a class of government, officials chosen only for their

technical knowledge that makes their proposals idealistic in Schubert's

terms. According to the nugwvumps the way of achieving the public

good did not lie in the clash of either parties or interest groups,

but rather in the development of an independent body of administrators

and workers chosen by neutral examinations. Coupled with their interest

in the civil service were notions of a strong executive. They propoosed

the establishment of an executive budget and the item veto with which

the President could check Congressional extravagance. In general, they

supported increased authority and independence in the executive branch

and limits u-pon the legislative branch.65

Mugwun-ps as a g-roup .,ere never able to exercise any great

influence. For the most part, their efforts at changinE policies or

failure because they were unwilling to compromise their principles in

order to succeed. As Geoffrey Blodgett says, ":ugwunprery, it turned

out, was not geared to decisive political action. It was not an

organization but a mood." 6 Their lack of organizational skills was

also combined with a snobbish distaste for the laboring classes and an

alienation from the radical reform efforts by farmers. In fact, some

of the niusgunp3 toyed :;ith the idea of limiting the franchise. Alan

Grimes' study of the nation'ss editorial policy finds that in 1880

that magazine had reversed itself and was supporting the disenfran-

chisenent of the Negroes in the South in order to allo:: the educated

land-owners to vote and nake policy.67 The idea of an educational

test for suffrage rights was fully consonant with the idea of a civil

bureaucracy. Public policy, it was argued, should be made by only

the most qualified, and the most qualified were those who were educated.

Despite the faith in the virtues of the educational process, the iYation's

strict adherence to the principle of laissez-faire prevented it from

supporting federal aid to support education for the newly emancipated

Heroes. The magazine maintained the Benthamite objective of a minimum

of government no matter what the governmental aim might be, even if it

were attempting to educate the voters.

Like Jefferson, the mug-rumps admired the town government of

New England. The nug:.-.ups looked upon the rustic past of their native

area as an ideal state where the social system was racially homogeneous

and education and learning were held in esteem. According to them, it

had been the greedy entrepreneur and the foreign immigrant who had

spoiled the virginal democracy of Massachusetts Bay. In fact, Hofstadter

states that it was the very displace.,-ent in status of the muswumps

by the rising maran't-ile leaders that motivated their efforts at

reforming the political system around themselves and "purifying"

the democracy that they believed once had operated in the northeast.

However, while Jef-ferson believedd that more democracy was needed in

the system to create opportunities for civic training of citizens, the

mugwumps proposed limiting the franchise and strengthenirL3 the powers

and independence of the bureaucracy. Jefferson lauded the virtues of"

the independent, common man, but the mugwumps wore disillusioned with

democracy and believed that an educated elite should decide policy,

protected from the strife of party or special interests.

Twentieth Centur: Theiories of ity Go:,ernjment

The era o-Lf the mugwump or "gventeel reformer" was only one,

part of what Hofst-adter calls "the Age of Reform." Their idealist

notions of administration were superceded by rationalist idea-s of

scientific management as re-for,-m efforts continued into the twentieth

century. The muggwups had been prim-arily lawyers, journalists, and

moderate mercantile owners, but the founding, of the National IMunicipal

Leag-ue in 1894:, was led by men whose backgSrounds were different.

Richard Childs, who is credited -,s the founder o." the council-

manager for-m of oenetwas an executive within his father's

corporation, Eon-Ani. His experience was with corporate mznage:ent,

and this -Fact obviously influenced hiis notions of how a city gsoverni-

nent should be operated. Other prominent leaders at that time were

trained as social scientists. 'doodrow Wilson, alichard Ely, and T. R.

Commions were Een who worked in the academic fields of political

science and political economy, and they made significant contributions

to the reform era. The reform movement was no longer headed only by

literary men and lawyers, but also men who were imbued with an enthusiasm

for the "scientific" study of society.

Whatever the advantage of their training, the new reformers

were more successful in developing new directions for municipal govern-

ment. The Nationcl Municipil League presented a Iodel City Charter

and encouraged American cities to adopt the new forms in the name of

economy and efficiency and to rid city governments of the waste of

corruption. The rationalistic base of the council-ranager system

promoted by Childs has already been discussed. The novelty of this

approach lay primarily in the fact that the system depended upon the

concept of "scientific aiiagienlI" aijn itb reliance upon the neutral,

technical expertise of the city manager. The idea of a scientific

approach to management had not been suggested until the start of the

twentieth century. All during the nineteenth century, the models of

city government were either idealist or realist. The twentieth century

had produced a new alternative model based upon a new concept.

Large numbers of cities began to change their forms of govern-

ment after the commission and council-manager plans were presented.

However, not all cities were successful in ridding their governments of

corruption simply by changing their structure. The best-known example

is Jersey City. New Jersey state law prescribed the commission form

for its cities, and Frank Hague was able to gain even further control

over municipal affairs after the "reform" was accomplished. Obviously,

in this instance the reformers had placed too much faith in the legal

machinery without exploring fully the causes of corruption in city

government. Machine politics uere not wholly the consequence of ill-
arranged lines of authority on an organization chart. As Robert
Merton's classic analysis of the machine points out', most reformers
were dealing only w,,ith the manifest functions or superficial aspects
of machines and overlooked the equally important features, the latent
functions. Consequently, macilines will exist as long,-, as the functions
which they perform go unfulfilled by the reform structures. 6
Even durin,3 the early period of the reform movement, Herbert
Croly had taken the reformers to task for the narrowness of their
approach to the problems of city government and their blind reliance

ature on city governmentss be-un to take into account the political
needIs of a community and tha iiain of tho re-forme ysto::S. Pri--
marily, the absence of a. strong political figure, the mayor, has been
the most noted feature. The role of the manager has been altered-- to
meet some of the changin- viewpoints. Mana,-er roles now include the
communityy leader." But, the absence of a visible, elective leader

with authority is still the chief criticism leveled against the mana-er-
council plan.7 S ome newly proposed structures make the city manager
serve under the mayor, thereby increasing the authority of the elected
leader.72 Essentially this latest trend in the theory of 1:govern~ment
structure attempts a sy-nthesis of rationalist and realist models by
Combining the technical expertise of the mana-cr with the repre-
senatienes o th maor


Each of the foras of government discussed above was developed

as a mcens of promoting the public interest. While this purpose

motivated the originators of these structures, the adoption and main-

tenance of these structures can be based on other reasons. For

example, nonpartisan elections are promoted in order to eliminate

the interference of state and national forces in local matters.

However, while this "reform" has accomplished its goal in some in-

stances and minimized party activity, it has also had the latent con-

sequences of lowering voter interest and turnout. In the absence of

mobilized voters, some organized elites have been freer to operate

and thereby have benefited from nonpartisanship.73 In view of such

circumstances, it is apparent that the causes and effects of change

in urban governmental structure make up a complex phenomenon. Al-

though the ethos theory of Eanfield and Wilson has stimulated

research on this subject, the results have been inconclusive. In

fact, the ethos theory itself has been accused of leading investi-

gators into contradictory findings because of the vagueness of the

concepts involved.74

One aspect of the lack of conceptual clarity is the fact that

Banfield and J;ilson's dichotomy of private- and public-regardingness

omits the variety of theories of the public interest which lie behind

the models of city government. The Anglo-Saxon, public-regarding

political tradition is more diverse in America than they indicate.

For example, although reformist is identified as a product of the

public-regarding ethos, it operates with mixed theories of idealist

and rationalist concepts. The tw.,o inain elements of reformisi--

civil service n-nd the manager-council polan--came during different

h torical periods and represent different ideas. Civil service re-

flects idealist theories, and the &anager-council plan is an example

of rationalist thought. The lo-ical extremes of both are mutually

exclusive types. Furthermore, realist ideas of structure such as the

"unreformed" notion of representation in ad-ministration include a

concept of the public interest that is derived from the Jeffersoniann-

Jacksonian tradition, a tradition that is definitely Anglo-Saxon.

Consequently, concepts of the 11ublic interest have not been confined to

reform structures exclusively; they appear in governmental forms that

stress represenntation as well. In short, the ethos theory atte-mpts to

dicliotomize a political tradition that defies such over-simiplification.

The discussion of models from the nineteenth and twentieth

century is given above to point out that city government structures

reveal the influences of several currents of political theory. The

Schubert scheme of idealist, realist, and rationalist categories

demonstrates the scope of ideas about the public interest involved in

many of these governmentally structures.

Because of Ithe success of the rationalists in the twentieth

century, the next cha-pter will focus on the structure of reformed city

governments. The historical and philosophical aspects of refozrmism

have been described in this chapter, bout the following, analysis will


1Glendon Schubert, The Pub ic Interest: A Critiuoe of the
Theory of a Political Conceot (Glencoe, Ill.: The Free Press, 1960).
2Frank Mann Stewart, A Half Century of Municioal Reform
Cerkeley: University of California Press, 1950), p. 5.

3Daniel Gordon, "Immigrants and Urban Governmental Form in
Amierican Cities, 1933-1960," American Journal of Socioloev, LXXIV
(September, 1968), p. 165.

Ernest S. 3radford, Cor.mission Government in American Cities
(lew York: MacnillAn, 1911), pp. 131-158.
5Harold Stone, Don Price, and Kathryn Stone, City Mana.!er
Government in the United States (Chicago: Public Administration
Services, 1941), p. 3J.

6Gordon, "ramigrants and Urban Governmental Form," p. 165.

7Internaticral City lana.ers' Association, INWnicircl Yearbook,
1961 (Chicago: International City Ianag-rs' Association, 1961), p. 76.
L8a.rence Eerson, "The Lost '.orld of Municipal Governnent,"
American Political Science Revie:, LI (June, 1957), pp. 330-345.

9Ibid., p. 333.

10For example, see norton Long, "Aristotle and the Study of
Local Government," Social Forces, .XIV (Autumn, 1957), op. 287-310
and Robert T. Daland, "Political Science and the Study of Urbanism,"
American Political Science ReviewLI (June, 1957), pp. 491-509.

11For exampl-, see John Kessel, "Governmental Structure and
Political Environmemt," American Political Science Review LVI
(September, 1962), pp. 615-620; Raymond Jolfinger and John Field,
"Political Ethos and the Structure of City Government," American
Political Science vieww LX (June, 1966), pp. 306-326; Sigar Sherbenou,
"Class, Participation, and the Council-"anrager Plan," Public Adnin-
istration Review; : I (Sumner, 1961), pp. 131-135.
12The theory- is presented in Edward Banfield and James Q.
Wilson, City Politics (New York: Vintage Books, 1963) and James Q.
Wilson and Edi.:ard 3-anfield, "Public Regardingness as a Value Precise
in Voting Behavior," American Political Science Review, LVIII (December,
1964), pp. 876-387.

13Banfield and Wilson, City Politics, p. 151.


14Ibid., P. 142.

15,dolfinger and Field, "Political Ethos and the Structure of
City Govern,,:ent," p. 310.
161,or01don, "l1amigrants and Urban Governmental Form," p. 169.

17Richard Hafstadter, The kAge of Reform (New York: Alfred
A. Knopf, 1955), P. 9.

18Banfield ead Wilson, City Politics, p. 41.

19Duane Lockard, "The City 1Mana-er: Administrative Theory
and Political Power," Politicalj Sience qjgaterly, LIXVII (June, 1962),
P. 236.
20OGarth Jones, "Inte-ration of Political Ethos and Local Govern-
ment Systems: The Utah Experience with Council-!Ianager Government,"
Human Or,-,anization. XXIII (Fall, 1964)s pp. 210-223.
21Robert Lineberry and Edrmind. Fowler, "Reformism and Public
Policies in Americali Cities," A-Derican Political Science Review,;
LXI (September, 1967), pp. 217

22oloen!t A`l-Ioyd and Engone Lee, "Y7otiy-g Turnout in Azorilcan
Cities." Ame,.rican jPol3itical Scienic-e eview, LXlII (S;eptcL'cer, 1Q68),
pp. 796-ST13.
2-3Iv.o studies that demonstrate the role of business in
reformism are Jaiazz Weinstein, "Origanized Business and the City
Commission and anerMovements," Journal of Southern History,
XXVC-III (Way, 196.2), pp. 166-182; and Sarmuel 'Hays, "Thle Politics of
Reform in Municipal Government in the Prof-ressive Era," Pacific
Northwest _Z12,terl-7s LV (October, 196)4), pp. 157-169,
24Philip GXtri-ht, "Nlon-partisan Electoral Systems in American
Cities," Coui-ar-atifeStiz31ics in Society and History, V (January,
1963), pp. ?-?-212-6 .
25Wolfipger, and Field, "P-Tolitical Ethios and the Structure of
City Government," tiL* 325.

2-6Seymour Liposet defined dezocracy in Political Man
(Garden CL', N~ew 11ork: Anchor Books, 1963), P. 2.
272ichard Ghilds, "It's a Habit How in Dayton," National Municip?l
Review XXXYIII (September, 148), p. 421.
28John PorteT East, CnclanerGovernment: The Political

29H. G. Pope, "Is the Manager a Political Leader? to,"
and Gladys KanmLerer, "Is the Ianager a Political Leader? Yes,"
Public M!anarement, ZLIV (February, 1962), pp. 26-30.
30Gadys K:ammerer, Charles Farris, John DeGrove, and Alfred
Clubok, City Nanapers in Politics (Gainesville, Florida: University
of Florida Press, 1962), p. 72.
31Schubert, The Public Interest, pp. 199-206 gives a sucnary
of the categories that he develops.

32'.illiam 3. Munro, The Government of Anerican Cities
(New York: The !:acillan Company, 1920), p. 4.

33Schubert, The Public Interest, p. 81.

34Janes :Madison, "The Tenth Paper," The Federalist Papers, ed.
by Clinton Rossiter (Newi York: The I!e,: American Library, 1961),
p. 82.

35T. H. Reed, HuniciDal Governn-ent in the United States
(New York: The Century Company, 1926), pp. 59-61.

361bid., pp. 61-62.
3?Frani: Goodnou, City Government in the United States. (New
York: The Century Company, 1906), p. 50.

33w. Hardy "dickuar, The Political Theory of Local Government
(Colunbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press,
1970), p. 17.
39Thonas Jefferson, lotes on the State of Virginia. (New York:
Harper and Row, 1964), p. 158.

40For a review of the antagonism between rural and urban
proponents, see Charles Glaab and A. Theodore Erown, A History of
Urban Anmrica (liew York: The Iacmillan Company, 1967).
41lick.:ar, Political Theory, p. 17.

42Charles 'Jiltse, The Jeffersonian Tradition in American
Democracy (Chapel Hill: University of liorth Carolina Press, 1935),
p. 132.


4For a rece-nt review of this delcate, see John B. IKirby,
"Early American Po~litics--The Search for Idoclogy: An Historiographical
Analysis and Critiaue of th-,e Concept of 'Deference,"' Journal of
Politics, X)911 (Yovember, 1970), PP. 808-838.
45Arthur Vidich and Josepli Bensz-n, Small Town in Mass
Society. (Garden Gity, New York: Anchor Books, 1958)
46This concLusion represents a contrasting viewpoint from
that expressed by metar Syed in Political Theory of American Local,
Government. (New Yark: Random House, 1966). Syed states tlhat
Jefferson was primarily interested in social harmony through small,
h om o 'eneous wards aad that Radison believed in conflict as the means
of reachin,- a coomom -ood.
47Wiltse, Jeffersonian Tradition, p. 86.
49For a description of Jefferson's activities in establishing
an opposition party-, see Manning J. Dauer, "The Election of 1804,"1
Gainesville: University of Florida, Department of Political Science.
50A revie-w, cT the c-aucz of the dcclina of the Felcialist Party
is riven in Ilannin- J.^Dauer, The Aams; F4ederalist, (alti:or6: 'The
Johns Hop'-,ins Press, 1968). A
51G00dnowa, City Government, p. 62.
52Pro~cecdir.,7 and Debates of the Virginia State Convention of
1822-3p, icaoi Ritchie and Cook, 1 830, pp. 740-741.
53R~eed, Muni-cipal Governuient, p. 81.
54stewart, ManicipalI Reform, p. 9.
55Theodore Lewi, At the Pleasure of the 1Mayor- (-New Yor'K:
The Free Press of Glencoe, 1964), pp-.2 20728.
56stewart, p. 9.
57Lincoln Steffens, The Sh-ame of. the Cities (New Yor.::
Sa,-amore Pr-ess, 1257), p. 3.
5810or 'ryce., Imericlin coirmonwealth, I (Ne,, York: The
Macmillan Coinpany, 18-9-77, p 3F
59AnrewW~lteForum, (Dcemer, 890, p 25

60Stowart, p. 3.
61Geoffrey Blodgett, "The Mind of the Boston Mug.uip,"
Mississioni Valley Historical Review;, XLVIII (flarch, 1962), p. 614.
621bid., p. 619.

63Ibid., p. 630.

6~,Nation, XLII (1885), p. 419

65Alan Grimes, American Political Thought (New York: Holt,
Rinehart and 'inston, 1962), p. 297.

BBlodgett, "Boston Mug'.ump," p. 614.

Grimes, Political Thought, p. 295.
68Hofstadter, Age of Reform, pp. 137-148.

69Robert erton, On Theoretical Sociolovg (New York: The
Free Press, 1967), pp. 125-136.
70Herbert Croly, Progressive Democracy (New York: The Macmillan
Company, 1914).
711:aaerer, et al., City Managers, pp. 79-93.

72Wallace Sayre, "The General managerr Idea for Large Cities,"
Public Administration Review XIV (Autumn, 1954), pp. 253-258.
?3A case study of Dallas city politics shows the workirigs of an
elite in a reform setting; Carol Thometz, The Decision-Hakers
(Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1963).
74Timothy Hennessy, "Problems in Concept Formation: The Ethos
'Theory' and the Comrarative Study of Urban Politics," Midwest Journal
of Political Science, XIV (November, 1970) pp. 537-564.




The movenient for reforming city governments in the United States

has been led by one organization in particular, the National Municipal

League. Founded in 1894, this association has promoted reformistm"

bydevelbping a Model City Chart-er which "incorporated the best in

governmental organization and practice."11 After the first Muicna

Pro;ram- was substantially revised in 1919, the 11odel Chanrter has

contained these basic principles; (1) nonpartisan elections, (2) at-

large elections for city council positions, and (3) the council-

manai-er form of government. At the beginning of the twentieth century,

the League advocated the strong mayor system. Later, it issued

several papers lauding the commission plan which provided for a small

body of at-large elected officials. This plan had been devised for

Galveston, Texas, after a hurricane struck that city and necessitated

a governmental reorganization in order to meet the crisis. However,

the League never officially endorsed the commission plan because

shortly thereafter Richard Childs developed the council-man-ager plan,

and the League included Childs' scheme in the new.- hodel Chiarter and

has maintained support of it ever since.

The Mod~el Ci, Charter of thie National Municipal League hias

gone through sir different editions since its initial version in 1916-

In the latest edition, the League promotes several specific points

which, in addition to the three principles given above, form the basis

for a program of reform city government. Some of the more outstanding

of these points are: (1) a small city council of only seven members,

(2) terms of office for council members of four years, (3) the

election of the mayor from the membership of the council by the

council itself, and (4) the absence of any veto power for the mayor.

There are other aspects of city government given in the Model Charter,

but the seven itens mentioned above are the most prominent structural

points which are commonly associated with a "reformed'city government.2

The Model Charter is presented as an ideal example upon which

cities are to base their forms of government. Although its cany

features are prccnrtcd as a p.chag:, the adoption of the model plan

of government by American municipalities has not been entirely uniform.

Central to the Model Charter is the installation of a professional

city manager to serve as head of the city administration. This one

innovation alone is present in over 1100 cities, and among the 676

cities with populations of 25,OCO or more, fifty per cent or 339 have

a city manager. However, the other structural aspects have been

adopted in varying degrees by the larger American cities. Nonpartisan-

ship has been accepted by seventy-one per cent of the cities, but

the election of all council members by at-large elections is found in

only thirty-one per cent of the cities. Similarly, the other

structural items contained in the Model Charter have differing rates

of acceptance. The most popular feature is the denial of veto power

to the mayor, and the least popular reform item is the limitation of


the size of the coaurcil to seven members. Table 1 sumarizes the

extent of reformisms amon- American cities of 25,000 or aore. Mnemonics

are supplied for each item of reformism.

Ag Table 1 indicates, reformism has several aspects, and not

every "reformed" city will have all of the items mentioned in the

Model City Charter. Nevertheless, reformism as a unitary concept

has been used in several studies on politics in American cities. Robert

Lineberry and Edmurd Fowler suggest that reformism can be treated as

a continuous variable, and they construct an index based upon the

accumulation of reform structures in city government Lineberry and

Fowler limit their treatment of reformism to only three structural

aspects: the forn of government, the election of councilmen at-

large, and the presence or absence of nonpartisan elections. In

re.-ard to the foray of government, although the 'National Municipal

league no longer advocates the commission plan, Lineberry and Fowler

place the small number of cities that maintain this system in their

reformed cate-ory; therefore, the form-, of government to which they

attribute reformistm" consists of two types: the manager plan and the

commission structure. Although these authors describe their index as

a "crude" one, it nevertheless is used in their analysis of public

policies in American cities. On the basis of this index, Lineberry

and Fowler conclule- that as a city becomes "more reformed" it becomes

less responsible to the social cleavages in its population.

Terry Clark also develops aa index of reformist. 4The important

difference between the measure which Clarli uses arA the one presented


25,000 OR MORE

Number Per
of Cities Cent

Form of Government = Form
Manager 339 50
Commission 77 11
Mayor 260 39

Type of Election of Councilmen = Type
Nonpartisan 481 71
Partisan 195 29

Number of Councilmen Elected At-Large = Elect
All 210 31
One to Eleven 285 42
None 181 27

Term of Office of Councilmen = Term
One to Three Years 278 41
Four or More Years 397 59

Selection of the Mayor = Mayor
Council Election 193 28
Councilman Receiving Most Votes in Election 9 1
Direct Election 474 70

Number of Councilmen = Council
Three to Seven 433 63
Eight or More 243 36

Veto Power of the Mayor = Veto
Mayor Has No Veto 429 63
Veto Ordinances Only 107 16
Veto All Issues 140 21

Sources: International City Managers' Association, MuniciDal Yearbook,
1963 (Chicago: International City Managers' Association, 1963),
Table IV, p. 168; International City Managers' Association,
Municipal Yearbook, 1965 (Chicago: International City Managers'
Association, 1965), Table V, pp. 122-176).

by Lineberry and Fowler lies in the classification of the form of

government. Clank acknowledges the work of Lineberry and Fowler, but

consciously excludes the commission plan from his definition of

reformism. Howlever, the Clark index and the one boy Lineberry and

Fowler share the same basic notion--reformiso is a trait which can be

measured cumulatively. Clark ikkis. a more sophisticated methodological

use of his index than Lineberry and Fo-aler in that he applies it in

a regression analysis. On the other hand, Lineberry and Fowler

content themselves with comparing correlation coefficients while

controllin- for reform index types. On the whole, the work of all

these writers takes the same fundame*441 assumptions about reformism.

These assumptions are: (1) that type of governmental structure is a

strate-ic variable in explainin- policies in cities, and (2) thlat this

variable is a uni-dimensional characteristic which forms a continuous

variable, measurable at some level other than a noninal scale.

The first assumption which these authors cake can be weighed

in the light of the results which they obtain in explaining public

policies in the cities. On the other hand, the assumptions about

the nature of reformist as a continuous variable are Lade without

their offering supportive evidence that the variable is unidimensioral.

Dimensions of -Reformism

Since World `,.ar II, social science has devoted considerable

attention to the matters of concept definition, interpretation, and

measurement. Paul La:-zarsfeld has written extensively on concepts as

"1property-space" or constructs in C-artesian s-pace. Important methodo-

and factor analysis. Louis Guttman has developed a method for testing

the unidimensionality of concepts, and modern factor analysis has

been employcd in exploring concepts in n-dinensional space. However,

neither Lineberry and Fouler or Clark refers to the use of any of

these analytic techniques in developing an index of reformist. One

of the most elemental steps in concept construction appears to have

been omitted by the.e writers.

Raymond Wolfinger and Join Field also ignore such techniques of

concept refinement in their study of political ethos and city govern-

ment structure. But they dc report the result of cross-tabulations

for checking the consistency of reformism in cities. Eased upon a

sample of 309 cities, these authors find that cities with the manager

form of go-vernment display a high level of consistency in adopting

the other reform structures of nonpartisan elections at-large election

of councilmen. Eighty-five per cent of the manager cities use the

nonpartisan system and eighty-one per cent follow the at-large

practice of electing council members.5 Cities with the mayor-council

form of government are less consistent in being "unreformed." For

example, only forty-one per cent of the mayor cities use the ward

system of election. This evidence indicates that reformism appears

to be unidinensional although the concept has not been tested rigorously.

Furthermore, the possibility exists that all seven of the structural

items given in the Model City Charter form a continuous, unidimensional

index of the variable, reformism.

In order to test the proposition that reform structures have

been adopted in a pattern uniform enough to form a continuous variable,


data on the type of governmental structure for all cities over 25,000

in population were collected. These data were then subjected to a
series of tests usinS Guttman scaling and factor analysis to examine
the dimensions of reformism. Several questions developed in the
course of this explanation.
The first question deals with whether or not the seven reform
items from the ModeliCt.. Charter constitute a unidimensional variable.
In order to answer this question, a Guttman scale test was used. 6The
most essential statistic from the Guttman scaling procedure is the
coefficient of reproducibility. This statistic indicates the degree
to which responses can be predicted going from the least difficult to
the most difficult in terms of the direction of the scale. The co-
efficient is expressed as the number of errors divideA by the number
of responses and this fraction is subtracted from one. Guttman
maintains that an "acceptable" level of reproducibility is .9; or in
other words, fewer than ten per cent errors aconZ the patterns of

responses. However, when the test was run on 667 cities and seven
items in the scale, the coefficient of reproducibility is only .79
and therefore falls short of the minimum level established by the

originator of the test. Nevertheless, viewed from another standpoint,
this coefficient reveals a remarkably high level of consistency among
reform cities. The Guttman test was developed primarily for use in
refininF attitudinal tests, and its application to the structural
characteristics of cities represents a novel use of the test, a use
that finds a surprisingly consistent pattern. Such a large number of
ciie nvlesamutplctyo fresi sain hegvenena

structures of these cities, and this level of consistency represents

the degree to which reform goverruinnt movements are successful in

pressing for the adoption of the Model City Charter in its entirety.

Table 2 sho.:s the intercorrelation among items of the scale

based upon Yule's Q. At the bottoui of the table are included the

part-whole, biserial correlations to indicate the association of each

item with the others. As Table 2 indicates, the four-year term of

office recommended in the Model Charter is the item which shows the

weakest relationship to the other six items in the scale. Evidently

reform cities are more prone to limit the term of office to less than

four years and thereby retain a more immediate check upon policy-

makers. Because of the low correlation of this item in the scale, the

logic of the procerIre dictates that it be dropped, and the responses

retested to check for a rise in the coefficient of reproducibility.

However, rather than drop the item, a further question arose concern-

ing the coding of the form of government.

The seven items used in the initial Guttman test were ccded

zero and one; one indicating a reform structure based on the Model

Charter list of governmental reforms, and zero indicating the absence

of the reform structure. As a result, only cities with the council-

manager form of government were coded in the reform column; commission

plan cities were classified as unreformed. This convention was based

upon the explicitness of the Model Charter itself. However, another

Guttman scale was tried using the coding originally used by Line-

berry and Fowler. In this test, both the commission plan and council-

manager cities were classified as reformed. The entire coding scheme

for this Guttman scale is given in Table 3.



Veto Form Mavor Council Elect Type Term

Veto 1.0

Forim .58 1.0

IMavor .44 .52 1.0
Council .51 .35 .2? 1.0

Elect .33 .22 .2? .42 1.0

Type .33 .38 .31 .30 .14 1.0
Term .10 .08 -13 .22 .17 o .4 1.0

Scale Item .63 457 .52 056 .41 .37 .16



Mnemonic Unreformed = Code 0


Councilmen elected by

Partisan elections

More than seven members
on the council

less than or more than
four years

Directly elected or receives
most vc'3e a.,ong councilm.en

Mayor has veto power


Reforocd = Code 1

Manager-council or Coamis-

All Councilnen elected

Nonpartisan elections

Council has seven or fewer

Four years

Elected by the council







Mayor has no veto power


I -


The question posed by thiis, coding scheme is whether the

commission p?,an is more appropriately classified as a reformed or

unreforiied governmental structure. The coefficient of reproducibility

obtained from usinS this coding arrangement suggests that the com-

mission plan is properly grou'peld with reformed cities. There is a

sli-ht improvement in the coefficient so that it rises from .79

.81. In neither instance, does the list' of seven items form an

acceptable scale, but certain aspects of reformism are brought out

and clarified through the scaling- procedure.

A further question remained concerning the seven items taken

from the Model. Charter. Althou.,h the adoption of reform structures

has been widespread, one of the limitations upon acceptance of these

chan,3.s by cities has been the le-al restraints which state -overn-

ments in-pose upon cities. Through constitutional arA statutory

control granted states in Dillon's Rule, state governments may force

cities to adopt or to prevent adoption of certain structures. If the

cities in states vihere these legal obstacles existed were removed

from the list of cities, the coefficient of reproducibility mi,,ht


An examination of the literature revealed that Alabama,

Indiana, and Pennsylvania limit the home rule power of their cities

in some way so ti-at reform structures are either imposed or prohibited.

Louisville,, Kentuclky, and Baltimore, Maryland, also ,are subject to

leEgislative control in their forms of city -government.7 'Ihen all of

these cities are removed from the total number of cities within populations

of these cases does not significantly affect the size of the coefficient

of reproducibility. In this instance, it rises to .82. Although

this last step produces a "purer" group of cities for statistical

tests, the results indicate that reformism is not made substantially

less error free when these particular cities are removed.

Because the seven items taken from the lodel City Charter do

not form a unidimensional scale, the question arose over what dimensions

are involved in reformisn. In order to deal with this question,

Guttnan scaling has to be abandoned and factor analysis put in its


'Whereas the term Guttman scaling refers to a specific

statistical procedure for dealing with dichotcaized variables, factor

analysis is a tern applied to a vrijty of techmniries which range

from simple data reduction in principal components analysis to an

intensive examination of factors in space using oblique rotation.

For the purposes of this study, the more common method of factor

analysis, variously called classical factor analysis or principal

axes with varimax rotation, is employed.

-Asafirst step, a principal components analysis is performed

on the unaltered correlation matrix. Two components are produced with

eigen values greater than one, the first component has an eigen value

of 3.03, and the second component has an eigen value of 1.09. These

two components account for a majority of the total variance, fifty-

nine per cent. In order to examine the factors with only specific

variance, the unities diagonal of the correlation matrix were

replaced with square multiple correlation coefficients as initial

estimates of the communalities, and the resultinE factor strucue a
rotated according to the varimax criterion. The matrix of rotae
factor loadin-s is -iven in Table 4.
The rotated factor matrix reveals two distinctive charatr
istics of reform-isei. The first factor appears to deal with itm
which are related to reforming the executive authority of cityoen
ments. Executive aspects are the veto power of the mayor, the aae
or commission systems, and the election method for the mayor's
office; these features cluster with relatively high loadings o h
first factor. Also, the non-partisan electoral syst-em appears ob
associated with these reforms in executive authority. The secn
factor ariocars to be cominosed of items which relate more clelaryt
matters of the council. The at-larrge, eloctioi of council,cn, h
terms of office, and the size of the council define the second atr

Factor analysis and Guttman scaling are two. veydfern
computation techniques for examining the dimensions of concps
Althou.-h factor analysis is helpful in revealing the -dryn
dimensions of data, the user of factor analysis is still facedwt
the task of makin-g several decisions about thie significa-~eohi
results. Criteria have bceen developed for makin,3 sorl eiiossc
as the level oil si-nificance for eigen values, but the eaiei.i

portance of factor loadi-nns is still an arbitrary T-attr nhi
study,for exaE:ple, four items all have loadings of grae ta 5
on the first factor, executive reform-, but there is no louemtd
of determining how important these loadings are excepti eaint
th ladng o hesae arabe o te ecndfctr.Inote



Factor 1















Factor 2








- ~- --- - ------------



words, interpreting the meaning of factors is largely subjective. In

vie,., of this problem, ore mcans of providing a check. on the factor

loadings is to Guttman scale the iterns on the first factor and apply

the appropriate criterion for Guttman scaling. If the four items

attain a coefficient of reporoducibility of .9, the items :ould demon-

strate their suitability for use in a n dimensional index of reformism.

In fact, the four items on the first factor do have a coefficient

of reproducibility of .91; and,therefore, they constitute a conceptually

purer" index of executive reformism. The minimum marginal reproducibility

is .67.

This conclusion is based on the fact that~in practice, reformism

is composed of two separate elements. The first element concerns the

allocation of executive povej, in the reform systeri and the second

element relates to matters that concern the council exclusively.

Significantly, the major impetus in the reform movement has been to

change the executive branch of the cities. Reformers have sought to

limit the mayor's office and his powers by placing the administrative

duties of the mayor in the hands of a professional city manager or

using a collective body in the commission plan. These efforts appear to

form a sepaarate dimension of reformist apart from the at-large

election of council members and their terms of office.

As mentioned above, the installation of a city manager or a

commission plan, the selection of the mayor from the membershipp of

the council, the denial of the veto pow -:r to the mayor's jpost, and finally

the installation of nonpaartisan elections-nall of these things Lave a

city government. These measures are clearly designed to prevent the

accumulation of administrative power in the hands of a strong mayor.

From the form..l restriction upon the veto power to the denial of

informal po-.er through party politics, reformist tries to replace

the strong mayor's office ::ith a position that carries only ceremonial

duties. These four steps taken together make up the major thrust of

reform changes that have been adopted.

As stated earlier, however, the criteria involved in inter-

preting the meaning of factors are somewhat arbitrary. Even though

in this instance four items develop a conceptually unified notion of

executive reform, the pattern of factor loadings does not invalidate

the other indices of reformism that have been tried. Both the

Linoebrry.-Fo:;ler cad Terl'y Clark reforu indices u se only three items,

but they combine two items of executive reform, manager or commission

government, with one item of council reform, at-large elections.

Despite this apparent "nixing" of factor dimensions, the application

of Guttman scaling to both the Lineberry-Fowler and Clark indices

reveals that these three items of reformism are also unidimensional.

The Lineberry-Fowler index which includes both commission governments

and manager cities in the reform category attains a coefficient of

reproducibility of .91 and a minimum marginal reproducibility of .67.

On the other hand, the Clark index which classifies only manager

cities as reformed produces a slightly lower coefficient of .89 and

a minimum marginal reproducibility of .64. Although the differences

in the two results are relatively minor, the slight discrepancy in

coefficients confirms the earlier conclusion that cities which maintain


the commission Dlan are properly considered having "reform" govern-

ment although 't-hat reformism3 reflects an earlier era in thie movement.

In any event, the evidence indicates that the Lineberry-Fowler index

is more appropriate than Clark's scale although only relatively so.

Despite the blending of items from the two reform factors,

executive and council reform, the Lineberry-Fowler index achieves an

acceptable coefficient of reproducibility, and it includes the most
significantn" elements of reform city government. The Clark index is

almost equally acceptable, but bec.a-use of the fact that Lineberry and

Fowler study the socio-economic characteristics of reformed and Un-

reformed cities, their index will be used in the following analyses

for purp~ozes of comparability. The next chapter will employ their

indoy in describing.S the socio-political aspects of cities accordirnjg

to degree of reformism. In addition, the original scale tested at the

be-inniing of Chapt~er 2- and based on seven itens from the Model City

Charter will be similarly used. In the last chapter, the Lineberry-

Fowler index and factor scores derived from the factor analysis of,


1Frank 'Iai: n Stewart, A Half Century of "!uniciral Reform
(Berkeley: University ofCalifornia Press, 1950), p. 93.

2National 1:unicipal League, Model City Charter (6th ed.;
New York: iiational Municipal League, 1i96).

3Robert Lineberry and Ediund Fo.ler, "Reformisr and Public
Policies in American Cities," Am.erican Political Science Association,
LXI (September, 1967), pp. ?13-771i7.

4Terry Clar:, "Comiunity Structure, Decision-,.aking,
Expenditures, and Urban Renewal in 51 American Communities,"
Sociological Review, XXXTI1 (August, 1968), p. 582.

Biuge t

5Raymonld '.olfinger and John Field, "Political Ethos and the
Structure of City Government," Auerican Political Science Review,
LX (June, 1966), p. 312.

6Computations performed at the University of Florida Computing
Center with en IB:' 360/65. This research was funded by a grant from
the College of Arts and Sciences.

7Daniel Gordon, "ImLigradnts and Urban Governmental Forn in
American Cities, 1933-1960," Anerican Journal of Sociology,
LXXIV (September, 1968), p. 16.



Previous Studies

The relationship between socio-economic characteristics

of cities and types of city government is analyzed in several recent

articles. In the largest study which involves 2,970 cities with

populations of over 5,000, John Kessel finds that size of population

is related to form of government. City manager cities are pre-

dominantly middle-sized con~unities. On the other hand, cities with

populations of greater than 250,030 and those with less than 25,000

are more apt to have the mayor-council form of government.1 Kessel

also notes that manager cities exhibit high rates of growth, high

percentages of native populations, and the economic bases of these

cities are oriented toward local business interests.

Concerning themselves only with the cities with populations

of 25,000 or more, Robert Alford and Harry Scoble identify associations

between form of government and empirical indicators of community status,

social heterogeneity, growth and mobility, and size.2 Restricting

their statistical technique to cross-tabulations, Alford and Scoble

find a consistent relationship between the more professional, less

politicized structure of the manager form of government and white

collar employees, and persons with high school education, and mobile

populations. The more politicized mayor-council plan is associated with

persons of foreign stock, children in private schools, and non..;hite


The finding that high community status is associated with

manager-council government has been interpreted by Ed';ard Eanfield and

Janes Q. ;ilson as evidence of their "ethos theory." These authors

claim that Anglo-Saxon, Protestant, and high status persons hold a

"public-regarding ethos" which favors, among other things, reform

government structures.3 In a controversial test of this theory,

Raymond H'olfinger and Joln Field conclude that the relationship

between nativity, status, and form of government is spurious when

region is controlled. As I.olfinger and Field say, "The Ethos Theory

is irrelevant to the South, . is inapplicable to the '!est, . .

fares badly in the iiortheast, . and even there (in the Midwest)

the difference between 'public-regarding' and 'private-regarding'

cities are small and uneven."4 In other words, reformism is largely

a regional phenomenon.

While the conclusion reached by Wolfirer and Field appears

to call into question results of other researchers, Wolfinger and Field

themselves have been criticized for the methods which they employ.

Timothy Hennessey notes that to control for "region" is to control for

a great many things since socio-economic characteristics also have

considerable regional variation.5 Therefore, to control for region and

then to compare per cent of foreign born with some other variable is, in

effect, to control for not only region but per cent foreign born as

well. Robert Lineberry and Ednund Fowler also point out the difficulties

involved in controlling for regional differences, and these authors

conclude that complicated variables like region which compound the

effects of several other variables should be avoided in research.

At the sane time, Lineberry and Fowler probe the socio-

econouic bases of city governments themselves. They compare the

statistical means of twelve socio-economic characteristics for cities

with different governmental structures. On the basis of a sanple of

200 cities with populations over 50,000, Lineberry and Fowler find

little difference in the neans of these variables, indicating that the

association between forms of go7ernnent and certain demographic

aspects is not evident for cities of this size. As these authors say

in explaining their findings, ". . varying samples Lay produce

varying conclusions;" and their study, fails to detect the upper class

nature of manager cities According to their study reformed cities

tend to have more educated populations and larger proportions of white

collar workers, but unreformed cities have high incomes; consequently,

not all indicators of status are consistently related to one form of

government or the other.

Indices of Reformism

One major omission marks all of the studies that have been

described above. While each of these studies attempts to analyze

the relationship between socio-economic characteristics and reform

governmental structures, none have examined reformism on a cumulative

basis. In only one instance, did any of these authors demonstrate

the association between combinations of government structures and

demographic variable.. 'olfinger and Field present one table which

describes on a regional basis the correlation betu.cen per cent of

ethnicity and various combinations of reformed and unreformed govern-
ments.U On the whole, the treatment of governmental structures has

been made on an item by item basis. In other words, each study

takes the form of governmental structure used-whether it is the

manager, mayor-council, or comL ission plan-and breaks do''n the socio-

economic variables according to these categories. Then, for further

illustration, these studies take the form of electoral system,

partisan or nonpartisan, and the method of electing council members,

ward or at-large, and perform the same operation. On this basis, the

authors then draw conclusions about the relationship between "reformist"

and the various socic-:cononic va:-iablcz. Hou::cvr, thcse studies do

not offer evidence that reform governmental structures are consistently

adopted in cities. Again, Wolfiziger and Field state that in their

sample seventy per cent of manager cities use both the nonpartisan

ballot and the at-large election method, but the other studies cited

above do not present this type of evidence. Therefore, since according

to one study not even three-fourths of manager cities are consistent

in adopting reform structures, it appears that most studies are using

different samples for each comparison of reform governmental structure

and socio-economic environment. lonrartisan cities are not necessarily

the same cities as manager cities, and cities that have at-large

elections are not necessarily nonpartisan cities.

In order to deal with this problem, scales of reformism were

developed which indicate the cumulative level of reformism which a city

demonstrates after adopting a certain number of reform structures. Two


scales will be presented; one index utilizes three reform items, and

the other is composed of seven. The first index is a four point

scale based on tile most prominent reform itemG-=.anager or coaiission

city governmen-t, nonpartisan elections, and the at-l-arge method of

electing council members. It has a Guttman coefficient of reproduc-

ibility of .91. The second scale uses the three items from the first

scale and adds four more items from the Model City Charter of the

National Municipal league. While this latter index is a more complete

measure of reformism in city government as defined by the National

Municipal league, it does not meet the criterion of unidinensionality

established for a Guttman scale. For the second scale, the coefficient

of reproducibility is only .81. However, the two scales have a

co:rrelaticon of .39. The content of" both scalce. i-. gi-lon in Table V.

On the basis of Index I and II, Gutty~an scale scores were

computCed for 667 cities with populations in 1960 of 25,000 or more.

Because of the low coefficient of reproducibility obtained for Index

11, a large number of errors in assigning scores occurred. In order to

avoid erroneous scale types, only the extreme scale types, "0" and

"7" will be reported in the following tables. However, reporting for

Index I will be complete.



Indexb Index IIc

0 = Absence of reform structure

1 = Nonpartisan elections

2 = Council-.anager or commission
form plus item 1, nonpartisan

3 = Council members elected at-
large, plus items 1 and 2

0 = Absence of reform structure

1 = Nonpartisan elections

2 = Council has seven or fewer
members plus item 1, non-
partisan elections

3 = Mayor has no veto power
plus items 1 and 2

4 = Council-:Lanager or commission
form plus items 1, 2, and

5 = Council members terms of
office are four years plus
items 1, 2, 3, and 4

6 = Council members are elected
at-large plus items 1, 2,
3, 4, and 5

7 = Mayor is elected by the
council plus items 1, 2, 3,
4, 5, and 6

correlation of Index I and Index II = .89.

blndex I has a coefficient of reproducibility of .91, a mean
of 1.6, and a standard deviation of 1.0.
CIndex II has a coefficient of reproducibility of .81, a
mean of 3.8, and a standard deviation of 2.1.

SeverFl studies have noted the distinctive regional distribution
which reform characteristics have for Amarican cities. The Coneral
finding has been that the vestern states with comparatively younl-er
cities have been Eiore anenable to the reform movement than any other
region in the United States. For example, Wolfinger and Field find
that ninety-five per cent of the cities In the west covered by their

study use the nonpartisan ballot system. 9Also, eighty-one per cent
of those cities employ the council-nanager form of government. The
region with the second greatest incidence of reformism is the south.
Within that region, eighty-one per cent of the cities have nonpartisan
city elections, and fifty-nine use the council-manager plan. On the
otIlher hznd, the ncrthecust Is particularly noted f or its absence of
reform structures. In fact, in that region only thirty-nine r
cent of the cities are nonpartisan and only eighteen par cent are
manager cities.
When the cumulative indices of reformist I and 11 a-re broken
down by region, the results generally confirm the conclusions reached

by other researchers although there are some deviations in these
patterns. Table 6 shows the distribution of scale types for Index I
according to regions. The table itself presents the number of cities
in each cell, the row perccntageks or per cent of scale types, the
column percentage or per cent of reg-ional types, and finally the cell
frequency as a per cent of the total number of cities. The regions
used in this descriptive table are defined on the basis of the U. S.
Census grouping of states. This particular grouping; is listed below
the ablein afootote



Scale Type

Region a-


Row Pct
Col Pct
Tot Pct


Row Pct
Col Pct
Tot Pet

Row Pct
Col Pct
Tot Pct

Row Pet
Col Pct
Tot Pct

Column Total





aSouth: Delaware, Louisiana, Oklahoza, Maryland, Florida, Texas
West Virginia, Georgia, Kentucky, Alabta, Arkansas, North Carolina,
Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, and South Carolina.
bNortheast: New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New
Jersey, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine, Pennsylvania.
CNorthcentral: North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota, Kansas,
Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Indiana, Ohio and Missouri.
West: Alaska, Wyoming, Nevada, California, Hawaii, Washington,
re^^ra^aornvn o. -k o Ut^ah and Idaho.

























_1_1__ ~1~1_ I~ ~II _WI~ __ __
1_ IIY---YII~---~----UII-L---UI- L- -- I


An inspection of Table 6 reveals that the western part of the

United States has the greatest incidence of reformism. Eighty-five

per cent of the cities in that region are either scale type two or

three which indicates that western cities not only accepted city

nanaper government but the other measures of reform government as

well. Close to the west in its rate of reformism is the south. There,

seventy-five per cent of the cities are either scale type two or

three, but southern cities do not use the at-large elective districts

to the extent tlhat western n cities do; therefore, proportionally, there

are fewer southern cities in scale type three than there are western

cities. The north central region has a more even distribution of

sca-le types than any other region, however, the greatest concentration

of cities in ti-at region is scale type one. The northeast has the

fewest number of cities that have adopted any of the reform structures.

Conversely, it has proportionally the greatest incidence of cities that

are scale type- zero or one.

If curves were drawn for each reg-ion for Index 1. it would

indicate that the northeast and the north central parts of the United

States follow very similar patterns. Both areas reflect the inroads

which advocates of nonpartisan city elections have rade, but this is

the only feature of reforn governm-ent that has won acceptance. As

the curves would extend along the continuut, fewer and fewJer cities

from these regions viould be represented.. Also, southern and western

cities follow similar patterns to a certain extent. Both of these

regions zake use olf non-Martisan elections and manager or congission

government, but the west shows the greatest inclination to-ward reform-

ism by having the largest concentration of cities that use the at-

As a further neans of illustrating this distribution of

reform governrint arong the regions, a cross tabulation table for the

extreme types of Index II is given next.

This table reveals even nore clearly the extent to which

regions have been willing or unwilling to adopt elements of the Model

City Charter. When seven items from the Model Charter are examined,

the northeast continues to demonstrate the absence of reform structures;

sixteen per cent of the cities have not adopted any of them. On the

other hand, western cities reflect an almost total adoption of the

Model Charter. Thirty-four per cent of the cities in the western

region use all seven items recommended by the Model Charter. The

trend which appears in comparing the south and the west on Index I

is continued and amplified by Index II. Whereas one-third of the

western cities have adopted the Mcdel Charter in almost its entirety,

southern cities use a fewer number of features frou the overall plan

recommended by the National Municipal League. In fact, only four per

cent of the southern cities are found in scale type seven.

This evidence indicates that there is a fundamental difference

inthe type of reformism that appears in regional analyses. Most

studies show that the south and west are the leading regions in

municipal reform, but some reform adoptions in the south stop short of

employing at-large elections and selection of the mayor from the

membership of the council. Many western cities demonstrate no such

hesitancy in embracing the full range of items which the Municipal

League promotes; consequently, reform government in the west is more

inclusive and representative of the reform ideal than city government

in the south.


Scale Type Refion
Nor th-- Nor th-
South east central West

Count 4 25 16 1
Col Pct 2.3 15.8 7.8 1.0

C oun t 7 7 11 44
Col Pct 4.o 4.4 5.3 34.1

Socko-Political Characteristics of Cities

In the various studies which have been made linking govern-

mental structure to socio-econonic characteristics, a consistent use

has been rmde of certain variables collected by the U. S. Bureau of

the Census. Because of this consistency, it is possible to nake an

easy compn.rison of findings aziong studies, and for this reason, the

follo-'ing analysis will I' confined to a list of variables based on

these studies with the addition of tvo new variables. A total of

fourteen variables are used altogether; they are listed in Table 8.

The source of these variables and all subsequent data used in this

research is the Coimty-City Data Book, 1967.10

The use of Dsmocratic and Republican voting patterns in

describlii rcori'n gover'mntal stiuctu't; ]:s bcin done on only a

limited basis. Phillips Cutright sho;-s the incidence of reform

structures in one-party state political systems, but for the most

part, political variables of this sort have been ignored in favor of

the more readily available demographic data from the Census.1 Even

in this study, the party voting variables are for county units and not

for the cities themselves. Also, the voting statistics are for

presidential elections. Voting patterns for presidential elections

can be a great variance from voting patterns for offices closer to

the local level. Nevertheless, the significance of these descriptions

of party strength, although admittedly imprecise, is sufficient to

warrant their inclusion.

A criticism often raised about environmental studies of

reformism is that while these studies may have some intrinsic interest


















County Democratic vote for President, 1960

County Republican vote for President, 1960

Total city population, 1960

Per cent population increase or decrease, 1950-60

Per cent nonwhite

Per cent of population foreign-born

Per cent of population with foreign-born or nixed

Median c1uc.aticn

Per cent of elementary school children in private

Per cent of population in white collar occupation

Median income

Per cent of population with incomes below $3000

Per cent of population with incomes above $10,000

Per cent of population in owner-occupied dwelling
















,~ -,~..~--~r~lru~-~r~---~--~ .........-~---_~LZ~~:. -- -.-~~---~-n~l?~,_--~~--

,~ll~-~ul---~r~-r~-~-~-~----a.~ ~ -- L------~i~-


in describing a current phenomenon, there can be no causal link between

the variables used in a particular study and the reform structures

which are associated with then. Any attempt to imply causality runs

afoul of time-series order because these reform measures were not

necessarily adopted when the present residents of the cities were

there nor vere the social compositions of the cities similar. While

it is true that populations of cities change, it is also true that

governmental forms change. Daniel Cordon estimates that since

1930, approximately forty per cent of American cities have changed

their form of government. Additionally, Cordon finds that on a

longitudinal basis ethnicity is related to the mayor-council form of
government.2 The results of Gordon study tend to minimize the

seriousness of this original criticism, As city populations change,

it is readily apparent that some city governr nts change also, and

the time-series order rule of causality may not be violated in these

studies to a significant degree.

However, a problem more serious than the time-order one con-

cerns inferring causality from ecological data. The majority of these

studies rely upon large samples of cities, or in some cases, the

universe of cities in a particular size category, and in these large

studies no attempt is made to collect individual data on political

actors or groups. The environment of cities is described, and then it

is related to a particular form of government. Because of the reliance

upon ecological data, conclusions based on these studies may be

subject to the "ecological fallacy" described by W. S. Robinson.13

simply noting that manager cities have significantly large concen

trations of native Americans, persons with white collar occupants ,

and relatively high education levels does not "prove" that these ae

individuals favor the council-manager form of government or thatte

worked for its adoption. The only ;.,ay to satisfactorially overcm

the limits of ecological data is to resort to survey research

interview residents of cities to learn about their attitudes towrd

reform city government and their activities in bringing aboutit

adoption. This technique has been employed to some extent althoi-hi

has been confined for the most part to case studies. 14 Hwvr h

evidence drawn from these case studies tends to validate many ofth

inferences based on ecological data. In this respE~ct then, the iet

hood of cczLaitti:,, th.- "ccolog-ical 1la 1" hz bcon r--d*uce-d athzh

not eliminated.

If ecological studies cannot' prove conclusively the effet

which environment play in influencing the form of governmet te

can serve a useful purpose in developin- hypotheses about the reain

ship between environment and government which can -be tested late

through survey research. A case in point is the ethos theory ofBn

field and Wilson. These authors draw the conclusions which theyd

about individual voter behavior from referenda. election reut boae

down by wards. While Banf ield and Wilson cannot provethtupr

middle native American voters hold llpublic--reg~arding"1 -auste

nevertheless have presented an hypothesis about the elecinotie

that has been the focus of considerable attention, researh n

postulates about urban political behavior, it is useful to explore as

fully as possible ecological data that is available before proceeding

with survey research

Tables 6 and 7 shown above reveal the marked regional

distribution which rcfornism has in the United States. Moreover, not

only is refornism noted by its particular relationship to region,

but demographic variables as veil have a decidedly regional nature.

For example, the per cents of city populations that are foreign-born

or of foreign stock, nonwhitc, or hoce-o'.ning is susceptible to

regional influences. Because of this fact, it is difficult to

"control" for the impact of region in statistical analyses. Region

represents a great many things, and it can very often represent a

marked distribution of some socio-econonic variable. In order to

illustrate the nature of the problems associated with region, Table 9

shows the fourteen variables used in this analysis broken down by

four regions.

Table 9 shows that southern cities are, on the average, smaller

in population than cities in other regions, but they have more nonhbites,

more poor families, but fewer persons foreign born or of foreign stock,

and fewer families :wose incomes are above $10,000. Northeastern

cities have the largest concentrations of persons with ethnic back-

grounds, the largest average number of school children enrolled in

private schools, the cost populous and the nost Democratic cities.

Cities in the northcentral region have the highest nean per cent of

homeowners in their populations while western cities have the highest



Variable Grand Miean S outh Northeast central West
(n=667) (n=174) (nI=158) (n:=206) (1n=129)

D5EMO 49.8 50.2 52.7 48.6 4?.g
GOP 50.1 49.7 47.2 51.3 52.0
TOTPOP 112,313 9,6k1 137t630 108,630 10.5,051
POPCHGE 71.8 66.1 M. 103.3 105.5
PCThli 9.6 21.1 6.0 5.? 4.9
MITFORB 6.0 2.4 10.8 4.9 6.5
PCITO]RSK 21.5 7.6 37.3 20.5 22.2
MDED 11.0 1o.6 10.4 11.3 12.0
PCTPRVE-D 16.6 9.0 24.4 20.7 10.8
PCTWC 46.4 44.8 42.8 48.2 50.3
MDNITI1C 61221 5,019 6,26i 60 94 69880
PCTPOOR 16.3 26.3 13.7 12.2 12.7
PCTRICH 17.7 12.2 17.0 20.2 21.7

median income and the highest average concentration of ihite collar

employees, and the most Republic2.u cities.

Because of the difficulty in coring with the multiple facets of

regional influence, no cross tabulations will be prcsentcd which

attempt to show the relationship batuecn socio-political variables

and reformism by region. Ho;:ever, it is useful to compare the Litan

value of these sauce variables for different scale types of both Index

I and II. Lineberry and Fouler take exception to the conclusions

reached by Alford and Scoble that reform cities are "'the natural

habitat of the upper middle class.'"16 On the contrary, they find

that there is a general similarity between reformed and unreformed

cities on indicators of class, but that the populations of reform cities

do appear to be more socially homogeneous as Alford and Scoble clain.

The differences in results wvhic6 these t:o studies obtain can be

attributed to the fact that they use different methods in analyzing

their data, and they have different samples of cities. !More importantly

perhaps is the fact that these studies deal with only one structural

feature at a time. Manager and Layor cities are compared, and then

nonpartisan and partisan cities are examined. The advantage of com-

paring the mean values on an index of reformism is that a continuum

underlies this measure;therefore, any generalizations about the direction

of social indicators and reformism can be checked on a cumulative

scale. The breakdown of socio-political variables by Index I is

given in Table 10.



Scale-Tp Ty
Variable Grand Mcan 0 1 2 3
(n=667) (n=118) (n=159) (n=239) (n=151)

DF11MO 49.8 50.3 52.0 49.7 47.4
GOP 50.1 49.6 47.9 50.2 52.5
TOTPOP 112,313 180,032 151,429 859742 6o,261
POPCHGE 71.8 19.1 117.7 62.3 79.7
PC TFOR B 6.o 7.0 6.9 5.3 5.2
PC71ORSK 21.5 2-4.8 25.6 19.2 16.1
MDED 11.0 10.5 10.9 11.1 11.4
PCTPRVED 16.6 21.1 20o.6 14.6 12.0
PC~fdo 46.4 43.7 45.6 47.4 47.9
MITINC 6,221 61224 6,272 69138 61299
PCTPOOR 16.3 15.3 15.2 17.4 16.7
PCTRICH 17.7 17.2 17.5 17.4 18.6
PCTowN 60.6 58.9 59.5 60.8 62.8
PCTN 10. 8. 10. 8.

Although there is some unevenness in the Iatterns shown by

Table 10, overall the tendency is for the most reformed cities to

differ frou cities with no reform structures in several vays. Using

the grand mean as the standard of comparison, type three cities have

on the average (1) fewer persons with ethnic backgrounds, (2) fever

school children in private schools, (3) fewer nonwhites, (4) less

populous cities, (5) more Republican voters and fewer Democratic ones,

(6) mo e persons with white collar occupations and family incomes of

$10,000 or more, (7) more homco;nners, (8) higher median incomes and

education, and (9) higher rates of population change than cities that

are'type zero. The inconsistencies in this overall pattern occur in

the middle scale types of cities, but this fact can in large part be

attributed to the inordluste numatbe c! southern cities that compose

scale type two. These southern cities in some instances score lower

on measures of socio-econonic status than do cities in any other region,

and therefore they contribute to the deviations in the general trend

already noted. As a result of this fact, there is not a unidirectional

pattern in the relationship between soclo-economic indicators and

reformism, but the extreme cases do support the contention of Alford

and Scoble that upper-class, native American, growing cities are more

likely to have several reform governmental structures than ethnic,

lower-class cities.

The breakdown of tLese same socio-political variables by the

extreme types on Index II again confirms the generalizations based

upon Index I, and in some instances, the differences between unreformed


and reforined cities is even greater. The major differences which
emerge from the comparison of extreme types on Index 11 center around
three variables: population change, median income, and p-.r cent of
families with incomes of $10,000 or more. In each of these instances,
the average 7aluas for the polar types exceeds the differences of the
extreme typns of Index 1. Table 11 given blow shows the mean values
for the scale typcs on Index 11.
These results serve to amplify the general findinS that reform
cities score highly on indicators of socio-economic status while
unrefcrmed cities score more lowly. Also, reform cities Pave a
higher growth rate than do unreformed cities. Consequently, cities
that have adopted the Model City -Charter almost in iti entirety are
highly representative of the conclusions reached by Alford and Scoble
about ref orm cities in general.
One of the advantages of employing an index of reformism is
that it can be used in correlation analysis. First, previous studies
on this subject have been confined to contingency tables and measures
of association such as chi square to test the statistical significance
of the relationship between environm-ental variables and forms of city
government. Although the scale of reformism developed here ueets
the test of unidimensionality, it does not satisfy the req-uire--ent
of interval data. However, Pearsonian correlation is sufficiently
"robust" to overcom-e many of the deficiencies encountered in the data
to which the test is applied; therefore, this method will be used to
testthereltionshi beweenIndx Iof rforismand he arible




Scale T''vn e
Variable Grand lean 0 7
(n =6) (n--69)

POPCHCE 71.8 19.6 100.5

IMDINC 6,221 6,175 6,798

PCTRICH 17.7 16.4 21.7


used in the tables above. The results of this correlation analysis
are given in Table 12.
Although the signs of the coefficients, do fall in the
expected directions--measures of ethnicity are negatively associatcdwt
reformism, and median education and per cant white collar occupation
are positively related to Index I, none of the variables chosen to
describe the socio-political environment of cities correlates highly
with the index of reformist. Most importantly, the measures of soci.
economic status do not display the high degree of correlation which
could be anticipated from earlier cross tabulation analyses. Measre
of income show very little relationship at all to reformist, and
education and white collar occupations demonstrate only slightly
higher coefficient-,.
Although some studies which exhaust the universe of psil
subjects employ tests of significance to determine the importneo
coefficients, this study will not use them. The amount of total

represents less than twenty per cent of the total variance;cosqety
attributing statistical significance to more than two or three o h
variables tends to inflate the importance of this list of enviomna
variables. Rather, the point should be stressed that these maasrso
socio-political environment leave largely unexplained the pheoeo
of reformism. Thae only other study which uses a comparable idxo
reformism for correlation analysis reports an R112 of .51. 1 h ihs
coefficients are .63 for median education and -.43 for a maaueo on
Cathlicpopuatin. owevr, err Clak'ssampe ws lmite toonl




Variable Simple R

DEMO -.14



PCTNW -.02



RDED .22



MIDl IIC .00





R2 .17


fifty-one cities, and the representativeness of this sample for American

cities as a whole appears questionable in view of the above results.


While several studies have been able to find significant

differences betireen the social and economic environments of reformed

and unreformed cities, these differences, however, do not account for

a majority of the variance in reformism when viewed as a continuous

variable. This finding does not obviate the results of these studies,

but it does emphasize the point that these efforts must be placed in

perspective. And reco-nition must be rade of the fact that although

socio-political environment is an important element in understanding

governmental struC'ture, environriant alone does not explain everything

about the nature of governmental systems. It well may be tat the

other influences upon governmental structure are unsystematic and random

forces. If this is the case, then environment is surely the crucial

factor in determining forms of city government but until other -variables

are explored to the extent that ecolog,-ical data have been, this question

remains moot in political science.


John Kessel, "Governmental Structure and Political Environ-
ment," American Political Science Review, LVI (September, 1962),
pp. 615-620.

Robert Alford and Harry Scoble, "Political and Socio-Economic
Characteristics of American Cities," Municinal Yearbook, 1965.
(Chicago: International City Managers' Association, 1965), pp. 82-97.
3Edward Banfield and James Q. Wilson, City Politics
(New York: Vintage Books, 1963), pp. 142, 170.
4Raymond Wolfinger and John Field, "Political Ethos and the
Structure of City Government," American Political Science Review, LI
(June, 1966), pp. 325-326.

5Timothy Hennessey, "Problems in Concept Formation: The Ethos
'Theory' and the Comparative Study of Urban Politics," Midwest Journal
of Political Science, XIV (November, 1970), p. 549.

Robert Lineberry and Edmund Fowler, "Reformism and Public
Policies in American Cities," American Political Science Review,
LXI (September, 1967), p. 707.

71bid., p. 706.

8Wolfinger and Field, "Political Ethos and the Structure of
City Government," p. 320.

9bid., p. 316.

1OU. S. Bureau of the Census, County and City Data Book, 1967
(Washington, D. C.: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1967).
11Phillips Cutright, "Nonpartisan Electoral Systems in American
Cities," Comparative Studies in Society and History, V (January, 1963),
pp. 212-226.
12Daniel Gordon, "Immigrants and Urban Governmental Form in
American Cities, 1933-1960," American Journal of Sociology, LXXIV
(September, 1968), p. 169.
13W. S. Robinson, "Ecological Correlations and Behavior of
Individuals," American Sociological Review, XV (June, 1950), pp. 351-


11Some examples of the literature on this subject are: James
Q. Wilson, The A ateur Democrat (Chicago: University of Chicago
Press, 1962 anT Lorin P1eterson1 The Dzy of the Llaump (Yei York.
Random House, 19651). A discussion of the attitudes andI ideology of the
founder of the m?.mager-council plan is given in John Porter East,
Council MannCer Govern7.-nt: The Political Thoupht of Its Founder,
Richard Childs (Chaltel Hill: University of North Carolina Press,
19 5T.
1For example, see Janes Q. Wilson and Edward Banfield,
"C ommunicat ions." American Political. Science Revicy, LXI (Decerber,
1966), pp. 998-999, and Hennessey, "Problems in Concept Formation,"
pp. 53?-564.
16Linebcerry and Fowler, "Reformism and Public Policies,"
P. 7C4.
1Terry Clark, "Community Structure, Decision-Making, Budget
Expenditures, and Urban Renewa-l in 51 American cormunities,"
American Sociolocrical Reyiew, XXXIII (August, 1968), P. 584.



Previous Studies

The number of studies which deal with explanations of govern-

mental expenditures is approaching over seventy works. In 1968,

Robert Bahl counted sixty-six such studies and several more have

been added since that time. In fact, studies of the studies the*-

selves constitute a growing list of articles.2 In general these

research efforts take on a standard form-they use a variety of socio-

economic indicators to predict through regression analysis governmental

expenditures. The most important works to date are those by Solomon

Fabricant, Harvey Brazer, and Alan K. Campbell and Seymour Sacks.3

Each of these three studies attempts to explain the fiscal policies of

different governmental units. Fabricant's is the most inclusive because

he uses data for both state and local governmental units. The other

studies are successively more narrow in their focus-Brazer examines all

American cities over 25,000 in population, and Canpbell and Sacks

confine their study to a sample of the Standard Metropolitan Statistical


While the units for analysis are varied, the approach has been

similar in handling the data. Fabricant began this type of study by

using census data from 1942. In his pioneering effort, he uses three

variables: income, degree of urbanization, and population density. On

the basis of these variables, he is able to account for seventy-two

per cent of the total variation in general expenditures. The success

which Fabricant experienced led other researchers to replicate his work

with later sets of data. Glenn Fisher applies the Fabricant "three"

independent variables in a regression analysis of 1957 data and accounts

for fifty-three per cent of the variance in total expenditures. Seymour

Sacks and Robert Harris repeat the procedure for 1960 data with results

identical to Fisher's. All three of these studies also extend the

analysis to functional categories of expenditures such as local schools,

police, fire and public welfare. For these expenditure categories,

the range of coefficients of multiple determination goes from .29 to

.85. The predictive variables perforn cost poorly in explaining high-ay

expenditures and are most successful in accounting for fire and police

expenditure levels.

Brazer, Campbell, and Sacks are concerned with urban total

expenditure levels. Brazer achieves a coefficient of determination of

.54, and Campbell and Sacks provete be the most successful of all the

studies by obtaining an R2 of .948. The latter two studies use

different sets of independent variables from the classic three applied

by Fabricant. Brazer uses (1) population, (2) density, (3) rate of

growth, (4) median family income, (5) employment in manufacturing and

trade, and (6) intergovernmental revenue. Campbell and Sacks include

six variables: (1) density, (2) per cent urban, (3) per capital income,

(4) state aid per capital, (5) federal aid per capital, and (6) a local

assignment variable.

Although these studies m.ay employ differing numbers of

variables in the regression equation, the fundamental assumption behind

this type of research is that expenditure levels reflect (1) the ability

of a governmental unit to pay for services and (2) the demand for those

services from the population witbin that governmental unit. The income

level of the citizens indicates their "ability to pay," and the size

and density of the population reflects the "demand for services."

This orientation is, in the words of Robert Lineberry and Edmuid Fowler,

a "socio-economic determinism paradigm."' This viewpoint emphasizes

the primacy of economic and social factors to the exclusion of political

variables in determining fiscal policies for state and local government.

The epitome of this perspective is represented in classical economics

by Adolph :'agncr's "lau" that an inciease in urb-inization is the cause

of increase in governmental spending. Understandably, practically all

of the literature cited above has been written by economists who have

not felt it necessary to include political aspects in the fiscal

policies which they study.

Only recently have political scientists begun to concentrate on

the political implications of the expend ture levels of various units

of government. V. 0. Key despairs about the absence of a theory for

allocating budgetary expenditures, but one of the most important contri-

butions within political science on this topic has been Aaron Wildavssy's

The Politics of the Euieotary Process. In his book, Wildavslk argues

the point that the fiscal natters of government have long been the

subject of political economy, but that this body of knowledge has been

principal domain of economics which has minimized the political

implications of the subject matter. In an attempt to reclain, sone of

the neglected territory of political science, Wildavsky. claims that

budgetary matters are at the heart of politics since fiscal policies

necessarily deal with "who gets what and how." Becmuse 'budgets are

political, Wildavslky focuses on the federal level and demonstrates

that the structural elements in the decision-making process continuc.

and reinforce an incremental approach to deciding budgetary matters.

In other words, it is the arrangement of the institutions and their

power relationships vith one another that produces the method of handlinrgC

the complex task of budgeting.

While Wildavsky's concept of "politics" is inclusive of a Creat

variety of bcabavior, other re-scarchars hn-7e t.!Iken ,, r!ore pTrosaic

definition of political phenomena in attemptint- to explain fiscal

policies for state and local governments. Generally cited as the

most important work in state government is Thomas Dye's Politics,

Economics, and the Public.7 Dye's work defines the political influences

on state taxing and spending in terms of partisan control of state

legislatures, the de-ree of malapportion~ment of state 'bodies, interparty

competition, and political participation. Using multiple and partial

correlation methods, Dye concludes that these "political" factors have

little or no explanatory p7.ier whe-n state levels of economic development

are controlled. The simple correlations between political measures and

taxation and expenditure levels drop or vanish when partial correlation

Consequently, the field of political economy is more properly economic

than political as far as state government is concerned.

On the other hand, in recent studies on urban policy, research

indicates that political elements of local government structure are

important factors in understanding fiscal policies. Robert Wood 's

1400 Governments, a study of the local governmental units in the New

York metropolitan area, stresses the effects which local zoning policies

have in manipulating the size and quality of growth in communities.8

In turn, Wood finds that a factorially derived variable called size

accounts for the greatest proportion of the variance in the taxing

and spending policies of these cities.

Departing somewhat from the "socio-econouic determinism

paradigm," Cnpbcll and Sacks include in their regression equation

an assignment variable which measures the apportioning of services

provided at the local level between states and their local governments.

This variable is important both conceptually and empirically because

of the diverse nature of local government responsibility in providing

services. For example, New York and Chicago are two major metropolitan

cities, but their total operating budgets reflect extremely different

levels of per capital expenditures because of the different services

which they provide. New York incorporates both education and welfare

expenditures in its total budget, but Chicago does not, In Chicago,

education is the responsibility of an independent school district, and

welfare is a joint state-county function. This example is repeated from

region to region and even from city to city where responsibilities for

major social services are divided among the often multiple units of local

government. Because of this fact, an assignment variable appears

especially noteworthy because of its ability to account for the diverse

nature of local government expenditures. Campbell and Sacks find that

the assignment variable does explain a significant proportion of the

total variation in expenditure policies, and Yong Cho similarly notes

that it is important in explaining interstate variation in local govern-

ment taxation and expenditure policies.9

The assignment variable is "political" in that it reflects the

structural division of services for citizens by state and local govern-

ments. However, it deals primarily with the sharing of responsibility

for one function in particular-welfare. In fact, in the absence of

data for the assignment variableitself the apportionment of welfare is

substituted.0 Because this vari.bl2 is heavily dependent upon this

one function, it is difficult to analyze the actual impact which it has

in determining expenditure policies in other areas. Also, a subsequent

study which includes other variables in the regression analysis finds

the assignment variable of little or no explanatory power.11

Finally, two recent articles assess the role which types of

local governmental structure have in taxation and expenditure policies.

Robert Lineberry and Edmund Fowler develop an index of reformism which

measures the degree to which city governments have adopted the major

structural changes advocated by the reform movement: council-manager

or commission government, nonpartisan elections, and the at-large

election of councilmen.12 Although they describe this index as an

effort to treat reformism as a continuous variable, -lethodologically,

they use the scale in a different ,way. Instead of examining the effect


on policy which reformist has as an independent variable, these authors

apply levels of reformist as "type-.coucepts." These type-concepts

are simply L;eans of expressing a function of tuo or more variables,

or, in other words, they sunzarize the interaction effects which take

place within categories.13

In analyzing these "type-concepts," Lineberry and Fowler

predict that the degree of reformism affects the responsivenesss"

of local governments. The more reformed tlht a local governnont is,

the more unresponsive it is to the socio-econouic cleavages within the

community. As a test of this hypothesis, Lineberry and Fowler compare

the correlation coefficients between environment and fiscal policies

while controlling for degree of reformisu. As they predicted, the

coirre~i iuiois but.,ecn the indicaLors of social ai:d econioiic cleC..a;aes

are lower in ciites with reform government than in cities that are

unreformed. While this study has been criticized for the superficial

way in which it operationalizes the difficult concepts of "cleavage,"

and governmental "responsiveness,"1 this research does mark an important

use of a political variable-governmental structure-in examining urban

policy. Although the interpretation given the role of governmental

structure may be debatable, the fact that type of local government does

have an effect on policy represents an important dimension of policy

studies which has received little attention previously.

Another study which treats governmental structure as a factor

in determining local fiscal policy is Terry Clark's article on community,

power structure, and budget expenditures in fifty-one American cities.15

Clark also develops an index of reforniE;% which is only slightly different

from the one described above by Lineberry and Fowler. However, Clark

is interested in examininS the statistical.impanct which this index has

as an independent variable upon various dependent variables such as

total budget expenditures, urbLan renewal expenditures, and degree of

decentralized decision-Ltakins structure. In tw~o instances, total

expenditures and decision-making structures, Clark finds that reformism

is a significant variable in explaining these phenomena. Using p~atlh

coef ficients, Clark demonstrates that ref ormism has a negative ef fect,

-.586, upon decentralization of decision-zmaking in communities, but it
has a positive effect, .521, upon budget expenditures. In essence,

reformism contributes to an elitist Eodel of decision-making, but it also

has tho effect of lcadinxr to highc,- outyat,. in the form off larL-e, totAl

city budgets. This latter point Is not altogether clear, however.

Using zero-order correlations, Clark obtains a negative association of

-.015 between reformism and budgetary expenditures, but the path
coefficient rises to .521t and the sign changes fromq ne-ative to

positive. In other words, reformed city governments are not generally

found in cities with high total expenditures, but after controllin- for

the Influences of all of the other independent variables, the degree of

reformed government is an important determinant of expenditures.

In any event, the Clark article emphasizes in another Yanner

that governmental structu-re is a variable of importance in explaining

urban policy. Fis statistical treatment of reformism is considerably

different from that of Lineberry and Fowler, and his conclusion is

stress the filtering and dininulion of interest articiLlation which in-

creased reformisu has in determining levels of outputs. Clark notes

that reformism infhrences the decision-raking process as Linebcrry and

Fouler predict that it does; however, reformism in turn contributes

to higher total expenditures.

Both of these studies attempt to explain only a limited set of

dependent variables. ILineltrry and Fouler use two ratio variables

which sucmarize the tax and expenditure efforts of the cities in their

sample. In their study, they divide the total taxes and the total

expenditures by the aggregate incomes in the cities. These ratio

variables provide a convenient way of expressing the willingness of

communities to tax and spend from their o.m resources. On the other

hand, Cl.rk uses three policy variables in his stuJy: total xcxpendit-n-es,

urban renewal expenditures, and level of governmental reformism. One

problem associated with using either total expenditure or total taxation

is the wide diversity of items which cities include in those categories.

Instead of providing a summary figure for comparative purposes, these

data conceal the variety of functions which cities undertake. Some

cities are responsible for education expenditures while others are not,

and some cities employ sales taxes or use taxes while others do not.

Consequently, both the ratio variables of Lineberry and Fowler and the

total expenditure figure used by Clark are subject to the caveat that

these variables are not truly comparable from city to city. Also,

explanation of only two or three dependent variables has the dis-

advantage that the conclusions reached may not be valid for another

policy area. In one of the most inclusive studies done on urban fiscal

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