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The Interactive Effect of Fund Balance and Revenue Diversification on Local Government Fiscal Sustainability

Description: This dissertation explores how cities achieve fiscal sustainability—the financial capacity to consistently meet basic public service responsibilities regardless of economic conditions. Two research questions arise from the interplay between the local economy and fiscal sustainability. First, what management tools do cities use to achieve fiscal sustainability given that economic conditions are largely outside their control? Second, what explains the variation among cities in the financial management tools used to achieve fiscal sustainability? The financial management tools of interest in this study are revenue diversity and the size of the fund balance. It is conjectured that financial management tools interact with each other prompting the tools to function as policy substitutes for each other. Cities achieve fiscal sustainability by strategically choosing budget-balancing tools appropriate to their economic conditions. The study utilizes a cross-state comparison from 351 Massachusetts municipal governments using panel data from 2000 to 2009 and 993 New York municipal governments using panel data from 2001 to 2010. Using theories of fiscal sustainability and revenue diversification, several models are proposed that test the interactive effects of fund balance size and revenue diversity on fiscal sustainability. The results from the empirical analyses show that cities use various financial management tools to stabilize spending during economic downturns. Cities pursue strategies that help maintain fiscal sustainability. Furthermore, it is discovered that interaction of fund balance and revenue diversity on municipal expenditures is stronger as the level of revenue diversity decreases. This interaction has a large effect during periods of economic downturns as compared to periods of economic growth.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Wachira, David W.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Utilizing Traditional Environmental Knowledge in Industrialized Nations to Assist in Disaster Evacuations

Description: Using traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), which is typically reserved for understanding how indigenous societies function successfully, and applying this to developed countries' ideas of disaster planning and response, emergency planners, public officials, and lay-persons can gain an understanding of their environment. Stories, history, education, and The waterborne evacuation of Lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001 provides a backdrop with which to test the tenets of TEK in a developed nation setting. This dissertation has found that TEK was effective when used by a developed nation and should be integrated into the current disaster system in the US.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Lea, Brandi M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Comparative Study of the Effects of State Grant Reductions on Local Expenditures: Empirical Studies in Massachusetts and Colorado Municipalities

Description: State grants are perceived to mitigate the fiscal disparities among local governments in providing services. However, cutbacks in state grants as a result of changes in state grant policy in different states affect local expenditures dedicated to maintaining service provisions to citizens. This dissertation constructs a theoretical model to explain the extent to which and the ways in which types of state grants, revenue diversity, and form of local government impact local spending and the provision of public programs when local governments experience cuts in state grants. The dissertation also argues that when facing state grant cuts, local governments with a council-manager form of government and with higher revenue diversity will experience reduced change in local expenditures and that decreases in state categorical grants will lead to more cuts in distributive program expenditures. Given the diversity of state and local arrangements, this dissertation conducts a comparative and panel data study to test the hypotheses in 351 and 271 municipalities in Massachusetts and Colorado, respectively, in 2000 through 2008. The empirical results indicate that the form of government and the degree of revenue diversification have a greater impact on the local spending behaviors in Colorado than in Massachusetts. Meanwhile, decreases in state categorical grants lead to more cuts in distributive program expenditures in both Massachusetts and Colorado. This dissertation concludes that the theoretical model explains the effects of state grant reductions on local spending better in Colorado than it does in Massachusetts.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Chaicharoen, Siwaporn
Partner: UNT Libraries

Assessing Local Governments’ Debt Financing Strategies

Description: This dissertation assesses the importance of a specific debt instrument, the Certifi- cate of Obligation in the state of Texas. It conceptualizes the Certificate of Obligation as a type of contractual debt that enables local governments to finance their capital projects. This dissertation is guided by three research questions: (1) What are the various types of debt instruments employed by local governments and what are their relative advantages? (2) How prevalent is the use of a specific debt instrument such as Certificates of Obligation? And why would some local governments prefer to issue them while others do not? (3) To what extent does the local institutional environment, e.g., the executive authority of city managers in the council-manager form of government, affect debt financing behaviors of local governments? To examine the first research question, we created a typology to represent four ideal types of borrowing methods: (1) Contractual Debt, (2) Voter Approval/Special Tax Debt, (3) Guaranteed, and (4) Non-Guaranteed Debts. The typology examines whether or not the state mandates the referendum requirement for the use of each of these debt instruments, and at the same time determines whether each debt instrument is secured by multiple or single revenue sources. Using data we collected among municipal governments in Texas, we conducted two empirical analyses. The first analysis tests the hypothesis that Certificates of Obligation have higher borrowing costs compared to GO bonds, since a GO bond is often issued under the pledge of the bond issuers’ full-faith credit and taxing authority. We employed a two-stage least square analysis to test the general proposition in the state of Texas. Based on 741 Certificates of Obligation and GO bonds issued between 2008 and 2011, our analyses show that Certificates of Obligation are likely to incur True Interest Costs (TIC) similar to those of GO ...
Date: December 2013
Creator: Lung, Wei-Liang
Partner: UNT Libraries

Community Resilience in Thailand: a Case Study of Flood Response in Nakhonsawan City Municipality

Description: Natural disasters such as flooding often affect vast areas and create infinite demands that need to be addressed in the same time. The wide scopes and severe impacts of such catastrophes often exceed, if not overwhelm, capacity of the national government to handle. In such a situation, communities such as cities and neighborhoods need to rely on their own capacity (resources, strategies, and expertise) to respond to disaster impacts at least until external assistance can be reached. Thus, studying how communities can be resilient to the impacts of natural disasters is important because this would enhance their ability to respond to the next disaster better. Within the context of great flooding in Thailand in 2011, this dissertation investigated the factors that generated or enhanced resilience of flood stricken-communities in Thailand. Nakhonswan City Municipality was selected as the research site. Qualitative research methods were employed in this study. Data were collected using in-depth interview and focus group. Thirty-six participants (28 for in-depth interview and 8 for focus group interview) from various organizations were recruited using snowball and purposive sampling strategies. Interview data from the field research were transcribed, translated from Thai language to English, and then analyzed using open coding and focused coding strategies. Analyses of in-depth interview data revealed eight conceptual themes representing factors that constituted resilience of Nakhonsawan City Municipality, as the leading organization responded to the flood. These factors are: availability of resources for resilience; managerial adaptability; crisis leadership; quality workforce; knowledge sharing and learning; organizational preparedness; organizational integration; and sectoral integration. In addition, findings from the focus group interview with members of three strong neighborhoods found eight factors that helped these neighborhoods respond effectively to the flood crisis. They included: self-reliance; cooperation; local wisdom; preparedness; internal support; external support; crisis adaptability; and pre-disaster social cohesion. This dissertation ...
Date: May 2013
Creator: Khunwishit, Somporn
Partner: UNT Libraries