University of Technology Sydney

15637 Introduction to Local Government Economics and Finance

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2022 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Design, Architecture and Building: Institute for Public Policy and Governance
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.

Description

This subject focuses on key economic and finance concepts and theories as they pertain to local government. Undertaking this subject enables participants to:

  • understand the sources of revenue for local government and how revenue is used to produce the various categories of local government goods and services;
  • appreciate the financial sustainability challenges facing local government and the major factors which contribute to the problems;
  • describe the various interventions which have been proposed or employed to address financial sustainability concerns;
  • evaluate the efficacy of interventions and apply this knowledge to professional practice.

As an elective subject for postgraduate local government studies, Introduction to Local Government Economics and Finance also explores related issues of equity, accountability and transparency. Students engage with scholarly materials, and debate and extend their understandings of local government taxation, debt, fees for service, developer levies, intergovernmental grants, resident demand, and information asymmetries. Students are throughout encouraged to reflect on the integration of theory with practice and, in so doing, the academic and research skills of students are enhanced.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

1. Define and debate key concepts relating to the provision and funding of local government goods and services
2. Build, extend and illustrate their understanding of key theoretical concepts for local government economics and finance, and demonstrate an appreciation for how these might be employed in practice
3. Identify and critically examine interventions aimed at enhancing the financial sustainability of local government
4. Describe and develop interventions aimed at enhancing the financial sustainability of local government

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes to the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Apply leadership skills to take a proactive and convincing role in in fostering cultural competence and identifying and addressing policy issues (A.2)
  • Communicate and engage effectively with people from diverse perspectives and cultures across multiple platforms, acknowledging the status of Indigenous peoples to develop cross-disciplinary strategy (C.1)
  • Synthesise and deliver well-informed, engaging and effective presentations in written, oral and digital formats for diverse audience types (C.2)
  • Apply processes of organisational practice and review for a broad range of policy fields across diverse types of organisations, relating to local government (P.1)
  • Consider, analyse and evaluate complex arguments and multiple interests within specific contexts, particularly as they pertain to local government and intergovernmental relations (R.1)
  • Identify, interpret and evaluate different evidence required in organisational change and decision-making (R.2)
  • Conduct independent applied research to develop a deep understanding of complex policy problems and innovative, cross-disciplinary solutions pertaining to government and its stakeholders (R.3)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

Drawing on the Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs) students are assessed on the following:

Communication and interpersonal skills

C.1 – Ability to present, and invite feedback on, complex arguments and ideas

Attitudes and values

A.2 – Ability to demonstrate an appreciation of values and ethics and their application to local government practice in a variety of jurisdictions

A.3 – Ability to reflect on one’s personal views and values and understand how they might affect one’s professional judgment and practice

Practical and professional skills

P.1 – Demonstrated understanding of local government principles and practices

Research and critical thinking

R.1 – Ability to critically engage with diverse bodies of knowledge about local governance underpinned by scholarly attribution practices

R.2 – Ability to undertake applied research to inform governance, management and/or leadership practice.

R.4 – Ability to apply conceptual and theoretical frameworks to local domestic and international practice

Innovation and creativity

I.1 – Ability to question, challenge and develop new perspectives on current local domestic and international practice

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject is run as an extended period of self-directed learning online through the UTS Canvas platform. There is a strong emphasis on students engaging in independent reading and reflection on the material through self-directed study, incorporating a range of teaching and learning strategies, including presentations, deliberation of concepts and theory-practice integration via the medium of case studies, and review and discussion of independent student reading. The subject utilises five main modes of teaching/learning, all underpinned by the principles of adult education:

Self-directed learning

Strongly based on a flipped-learning approach, students engage in readings, accessing core and additional readings through the UTS Canvas system and library. Students extend, test and reflect on their self-study in workshop sessions in which the material is organised into modules of teaching/learning (see ‘Content’ below) that strongly direct participants’ attention to the value and utility of integrating theory with practice.

Structured presentation of trends, issues and background research

Presented by UTS academic staff and expert presenters, the modules are based on local government research and academic theory.

Active learning

An interactive and professional development approach enables participants to discuss course content and reflect on issues and practices within their own councils while comparing these with the experiences of their peers and other councils. It includes structured reflection on experience, work-based case studies, workshop tasks and analysis, and the structuring and conduct of the assessments and the feedback provided to students on the basis of those assessments (see ‘Assessment’ below).

Applying theory to practice

Participants apply local government economic and finance principles to their own work situations and demonstrate this learning through the writing of a Professional Report.

Collaborative learning

Participants who have completed subjects such as this elective offering in local government studies regularly provide feedback that a noteworthy part of their learning and development can be attributed to the peer-to-peer contact, sharing and learning that occurs in the workshops, small group problem-solving activities, simulations and facilitated whole-of-class discussions, methods that are explicitly included in the overall teaching/learning approach in order to promote peer learning.

Feedback

Students will receive extensive written feedback on each assessment that they should retain and employ to guide preparation of sequent assessments.

Content (topics)

During the course of the structured teaching/learning experiences, students address the following broad themes of the theory of local government economics and finance.

Module 1: The Financial Sustainability Challenge and Types of Local Government Goods and Services

Students are presented with data and scholarly materials which describe the financial sustainability challenges facing local government in Australia and abroad. From reading this material students are led to an understanding of why some local government sustainability is faltering. We then describe the basic types of local government goods and services – public, private, merit and positive externality – with a focus on economically efficient and equitable funding for each.

Module 2: Local Government Taxation.

We draw on Natural Law and the seminal works of Henry George, to build an ethical and economic case for levying a land tax. We then describe the two major approaches to levying land tax – unimproved land value (ULV), and capital improve land value (CIV) – and the implications of each for economic efficiency and the ethical distribution of funding burden. We conclude with a brief introduction to local government taxation limitation practice and literature.

Module 3: Local Government Fee (including Developer Levies), Supply and Demand

This module commences with an explication of price signalling, supply and demand. We then review the two principal methods for calculating fees – demand-side and supply-side approaches – and the implications of each for financial sustainability, equity and the local economy. Thereafter we briefly review the history, theory and practice of developer levies in terms of administrative challenges and social economic value.

Module 4: Intergovernmental Grants

This module reviews the concepts of vertical fiscal imbalance (VFI) and horizontal fiscal equalisation (HFE) with particular reference to federations. We then explore the reasons for desiring HFE at a municipal level. Thereafter we describe the aims and objectives of the federal legislation which governs the distribution and allocation of financial assistance grants and demonstrate how this contrasts with actual practice. We conclude the module with a brief explication of the standard model employed in jurisdictions abroad for distributing intergovernmental grants.

Module 5: Local Government Debt

This module examines local government debt with reference to intergenerational equity, debt capacity, soft budget constraints and moral hazard. Moreover, students will be led to an understanding of common misconceptions relating to the use of debt at a local government level.

Module 6: Expenditure, Accruals Accounting and the Principle of Subsidiarity

We consider both the major categories of expenditure and also the distribution of spending relative to classes of goods and services. This is followed by a brief overview of the conceptual problems inherent in government accrual accounting and the inconsistencies in extant practice. We conclude this module with an explication of the Principle of Subsidiarity (including the implications of same for expenditure and co-production).

Module 7: Economies of Scale, Scope and Density and Structural Reform

There is a large body of literature which seeks to determine whether there are economies of scale, scope or density for the provision of local government goods and services. Moreover, consultant reports and other materials in support of structural reform routinely misconceive these concepts. We review the economic theory relating to the economies before investigating the evidence to date. The module concludes by considering the implications for structural reform (including amalgamation and shared-services).

Module 8: Jurisdiction Level Interventions

This module considers jurisdiction level regulatory practices and interventions in terms of the consequences of same for financial sustainability. Cost-shifting, rate-capping, fee regulation, developer levy regulation, pensioner discounts, directly elected mayors, local government taxation reform, and amalgamation are explored. Moreover, we consider other potentially efficacious interventions as detailed in the literature (such as balance budget legislation, pre-election performance reports and other measures to address information asymmetries).

Module 9: Entity Level Interventions

In this module we consider entity level interventions which might be made to improve financial sustainability. These include, inter alia, participatory budgeting, altering ward structures, sending accurate price signals, rationalising assets, reviewing subsidium levels (including introducing variable rates of subsidium according to need), and reviewing fees and charges for non-public goods.

Module 10: Performance Monitoring

We review important concepts associated with entity level performance monitoring (PM) and the unintended consequences that might arise. We also present empirical evidence from the recent PM implemented in NSW to demonstrate the scale of unintended outcomes. We conclude the module with an argument that PM must be considered to be an essential aspect of local government finance.

Assessment

Assessment task 1: Essay

Intent:

In writing this essay participants will demonstrate their undestanding of the principal problems of financial sustainability in local government in Australia and methods to remedy these from the levels of both state and local government.

Objective(s):

This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2, 3 and 4

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

A.2, P.1 and R.1

Type: Essay
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 40%
Length:

maximum 4,000 words

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Skill in identifying and analysing reference material from a wide range of sources, as demonstrated through using and acknowledging that literature via consistent and accurate in-text referencing and the compilation of an accurate reference list. 10 1 R.1
Skill in structuring complex information, arguments and ideas in written form, as demonstrated through the structure of the text and its readability 30 2 R.1
The studentís exploration of the topic demonstrates knowledge of financial sustainability challenges facing local governments and the difference between entity level and jurisdictional level interventions 30 3 P.1
The student critiques interventions consistent with scholarly conventions 30 4 A.2
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Multiple Choice Exam

Intent:

This multiple choice exam is intended to test, and further inform, participants' understanding of key concepts in the economics and finance of local government in Australia and internationally.

Objective(s):

This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1 and 4

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

C.1 and C.2

Type: Examination
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 20%
Length:

Maximum 1 hour

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
The student demonstrates evidence of having learnt key concepts and definition relating to the course 75 1 C.1
The student demonstrates that they can apply key concepts to local government practice and can discern common misconceptions 25 4 C.2
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 3: Theory-Practice Integration

Intent:

The objective of this assignment is to enable students to demonstrate their competence in explicitly integrating the concepts covered in Introduction to Local Government Economics and Finance, as discussed in this subject, to your professional practice.

Objective(s):

This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2, 3 and 4

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

.4, .5, R.2 and R.3

Type: Report
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 40%
Length:

4,000 words

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
The Professional Report provides a considered appraisal of the given councils financial challenges supported by appropriate evidence (including financial and demographic data). 30 1 R.2
The student is able to explicate on salient aspects of the chosen intervention with appropriate scholarly citations 20 2 R.3
The student demonstrates an understanding of both the benefits of the proposed intervention and the potential obstacles which they must overcome to execute same 30 3 .4
The student shows an understanding of how the proposed intervention will fit in with other jurisdictional level or entity level interventions which may occur in the future 20 4 .5
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Required texts

As it is an elective subject for local government studies at the University of Technology Sydney, it is essential that all students undertaking Introduction to Local Government Economics and Finance be actively engaged with the academic literature. Readings for the modules of the subject are distinguished according to whether they are ‘core readings’ or ‘additional readings and references’. The core readings are made available to students online via Canvas. Students are expected to access the additional readings by making using of the UTS library facilities (especially online access for journal articles) themselves. Core readings include:

Module One:

Grant, B. and Drew, J. (2017). Local Government in Australia: History, Theory and Public Policy. Springer Palgrave, Singapore. Only Chapter 7 – and please only read with the intent of getting an overview of local government economics and finance at this stage (don’t get too caught up on the detail for now). You will need to pay particular attention to the definitions of public goods, merit goods, private goods and goods with positive externalities on pages 267-268.

Drew, J. and Grant, B. (2017). Subsidiarity: More Than a Principle of Decentralisation – A View from Local Government. Publius, 47(4): 522-545. Just take note of Table 1 and page 12 and 14 at this stage, which give an indication of the nature of the looming crisis in Australia and abroad.

Drew, J. and Campbell, N. (2016). Autopsy of Municipal Failure: The Case of Central Darling Shire. Australasian Journal of Regional Science, 22(1): 81-104. This is the only scholarly account of Australia’s first case of government financial failure.

Oates, W. (2005). Toward a second generation theory of fiscal federalism. International Tax and Public Finance, 12, 349-373. The late Wallace Oates was the doyen of fiscal federalism – please focus particularly on Section 1 (‘First-Generation Theory of Fiscal Federalism’) and ‘The Problem of Soft Budget Constraints ad Fiscal Bailouts’ on page 360-364.

Module Two:

Grant, B. and Drew, J. (2017). Local Government in Australia: History, Theory and Public Policy. Springer Palgrave, Singapore. Just section 7.2.1 ‘Taxation’.

Drew, J. and Dollery, B (2015). A Fair Go? A Response to the Independent Local Government Review Panel’s Assessment of Municipal Taxation in New South Wales. Australian Tax Forum, 30(3): 471-489. Covers ULV CIV ARV, and demonstrates some of the effects of rate capping.

Pullen, J. (2009). Henry George and the Australian Economic Association: On Land Ownership and Land Taxation. History of Economics Review, Summer 2009 (50): 46-71. A succinct introduction to the thinking of Henry George on land taxation.

Module Three:

Dollery, B., Witherby, A., and Marshall, N. (2000). Section 94 Developer Contributions and Marginal Cost Pricing. Urban Policy and Research, 18(3): 311-328. This is an oldie, but a goodie. Don’t get too carried off by the detail, but rather try to focus on the conceptual matters explicated by Brian on p312 onwards.

Grant, B. and Drew, J. (2017). Local Government in Australia: History, Theory and Public Policy. Springer Palgrave, Singapore. Just section 7.2.2.

McNeill, J. and Dollery, B. (2003). Calculating the Developer Charges for Urban Infrastructure: A Feasible Method for Applying Marginal Cost Pricing. The Engineering Economist, 48(3): 218-240. What I want students to get from this reading is a sense of how difficult supply-side pricing is in practice.

Module Four:

Commonwealth of Australia. Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995. It is not my intention for you to memorise the Act. What I would like is for students to be aware that an Act exists, what the objectives of the Act are (section 3) and the definition of HFE (section 6(2)(a)).

Grant, B. and Drew, J. (2017). Local Government in Australia: History, Theory and Public Policy. Springer Palgrave, Singapore. Please read Section 7.2.3 carefully. Please also read Section 4.3.3.

Oates, W. (1999). An Essay on Fiscal Federalism. Journal of Economic Literature, 37(3): 1120-1149. A good overview of the basics of fiscal federalism in what is a seminal paper in the field.

Drew, J. and B. Dollery. (2014). Road to Ruin? Consistency, Transparency and Horizontal Equalisation of Road Grant Allocations in Eastern Mainland Australian States. Public Administration Quarterly, 39(3): 517-545. Empirical evidence and commentary on Australia’s chaotic system of local government grants.

Module Five:

Grant, B. and Drew, J. (2017). Local Government in Australia: History, Theory and Public Policy. Springer Palgrave, Singapore. Please read Section 12.4.3, and the top of page 142 in Chapter 4.

Hildreth, W., and Miller, G. (2002). Debt and Local Economy: Problems in Benchmarking Local Government Debt Affordability. Public Budgeting & Finance, Winter 2002: 99-113. This paper provides some insights into the problem of measuring debt capacity – surprisingly this is one of the few examples of scholarly inquiry into this matter.

Module Six:

Grant, B. and Drew, J. (2017). Local Government in Australia: History, Theory and Public Policy. Springer Palgrave, Singapore. Succinct explications of the Principle of Subsidiarity (Section 4.3.2) which has been routinely misconceived in the federalism literature. Please also read section 7.3 relating to expenditure.

Drew, J. and Grant, B. (2017). Subsidiarity: More Than a Principle of Decentralisation – A View from Local Government. Publius, 47(4): 522-545. This is a seminal, although recent, paper on the application of Subsidiarity to public finance.

Drew, J. (2017). Playing for Keeps: Local Government Distortion of Depreciation Accruals in Response to High Stakes Public Policy-Making. Public Money & Management, 38(1): 57-64. A good review of the theory and evidence on depreciation accrual distortion.

Harris, J. (1999). Capitalisation and Depreciation of Infrastructure by State and Local Government Entities. Public Budgeting and Finance, Winter 1999: 35-48. A good overview of some of the conceptual problems with depreciation accrual accounting.

Sirico, R. (1997). Subsidiarity, Society and Entitlements: Understanding and Application. Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy 11: 549-579. One of the few other papers to address the issue of Subsidiarity and public finance.

Stalebrink, O. (2007). An Investigation of Discretionary Accruals and Surplus-Deficit Management: Evidence from Swedish Municipalities. Financial Accountability & Management, 23(4): 441-458. Evidence from abroad on the manipulation of depreciation accruals.

Module Seven:

Grant, B. and Drew, J. (2017). Local Government in Australia: History, Theory and Public Policy. Springer Palgrave, Singapore. Please read 7.3.1 and then Chapter 10 in its entirety.

Drew, J., Kortt, M. and B. Dollery. (2013). A Cautionary Tale: Council Amalgamation in Tasmania and the Deloitte Access economic Report. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 72(1): 55-65. A good example of the failure of ‘expert’ consultants to provide robust empirical evidence to support proposals and get economic concepts straight.

Drew, J., and Dollery, B. (2014). Estimating The Impact of the Proposed Greater Sydney Metropolitan Amalgamations on Municipal Financial Sustainability. Public Money & Management, 34(4), 281-288. A good example of how Expert Panels costing the NSW state government over $2million failed to support claims with robust empirical evidence.

Drew, J., Grant, B. and Fisher, J. (2017). Re-evaluating Local Government Amalgamations: Utility Maximisation Meets the Principle of Double Effect. Policy & Politics, 45(3): 379-394. One of the very few papers to consider the moral questions posed by amalgamation.

Module Eight:

Grant, B. and Drew, J. (2017). Local Government in Australia: History, Theory and Public Policy. Please read Section 7.3.2 carefully.

Drew, J. and Dollery, B. (2016). The Price of Democracy? Political Representation Structure and Per Capita Expenditure in Victorian Local Government. Urban Affairs Review, 53(3): 522-538. Empirical and theoretical explication of the affect of ward structures on local government expenditure.

Drew, J. and Dollery, B (2015). A Fair Go? A Response to the Independent Local Government Review Panel’s Assessment of Municipal Taxation in New South Wales. Australian Tax Forum, 30(3): 471-489. Covers rate capping, and the effect of exemptions and concessions.

Module Nine:

Grant, B. and Drew, J. (2017). Local Government in Australia: History, Theory and Public Policy. Most of Chapter 7 and Chapter 12 have already been read and can be drawn upon for this Module.

Drew, J. and Grant, B. (2017). Subsidiarity: More Than a Principle of Decentralisation – A View from Local Government. Publius, 47(4): 522-545. Subsidiarity contains a moral framework for a lot of the interventions that might be implemented by entities.

Module Ten:

Grant, B. and Drew, J. (2017). Local Government in Australia: History, Theory and Public Policy. Springer Palgrave, Singapore. Please read Section 7.4 in its entirety.

Bevan, G. and Hood, C. (2006). What’s Measured is What Matters: Targets and Gaming in the English Health Care System. Public Administration, 84(3): 517-538. A seminal paper in the field.

Drew, J. and Dollery, B. (2016). Summary Execution: The Impact of Alternative Summarization Strategies on Local Governments. Public Administration Quarterly, 40(4): 814-841. Details the constitutive implications arising from how performance data is summarised.

Drew, J. and Dollery, B. (2015). Inconsistent Depreciation Practice and Public Policymaking: Local Government Reform in New South Wales. Australian Accounting Review, 25(1), 28-37. Details how accounting data distortions can have a profound effect on PM.

Drew, J., O’Flynn, J. and B. Grant (2017). Performing What? Exploring and Expanding the Notion of Synecdoche in Performance Management Practice. Public Administration Quarterly, In Print (29/11/17). I have included the proof copy of this paper in the readings, as it is at the cutting edge of scholarship in this field.

Recommended texts

Module One:

Boadway, R. and Shah, A. (2009). Fiscal Federalism: Principals and Practice of Multiorder Governance. Cambridge Press: Cambridge. A comprehensive text written by one of the world’s foremost experts.

Dollery. B., Crase, L. and Johnson, A. (2006). Australian Local Government Economics. UNSW Press: Sydney. Brian Dollery has been the leading figure in Australian local government economics for decades and one of the leading figures internationally. He was also my mentor and co-author on my first thirty-odd publications. The book is getting a little dated now but it is still well worth a read.

Friedman, Milton. 1993. Why government is the problem. Stanford: Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace. A seminal and concise treatise on the cause of ballooning spending by governments (of any level) on ineffectual policies.

Module Two:

Drew, J. and Dollery B. (2016) Careful What You Wish For: Rate-Capping in Victorian Local Government. Journal of Australian Taxation, 17(1): 139-167. Seeks to quantify the effects of rate capping on financial sustainability and equity.

Finnis, J. (2004). Aquinas. Oxford University Press: Oxford. The authoritative source on Aquinas’ commentaries on Aristotle. Deals with the moral foundation of taxation in the Natural Law tradition.

Laurent, J. (2005). Henry George’s Legacy in Economic Thought. Edward Elgar: Cheltenham. Everything you ever wanted to know about Henry George by experts in the history of economic thought.

Ladd, H. (1998). Local Government Tax and Land Use Policies in the US. Edward Elgar: Cheltenham. Most of the issues raised are just as applicable to Australia. Each chapter has additional commentaries by some towering figures in the field (Inman, Fischel, and Mieszkowski) which alone makes it well worth reading.

Messner, J. (1952). Social Ethics. B Herder Book Co: London. There is no more authoritative text on CST interpretation of Natural Law. Has extensive chapters on taxation, subsidiarity, and the common good.

Module Three:

Ladd, Helen (1992). Population Growth, Density and the Costs of Providing Public Services. Urban Studies, 29(2): 273-295. Helen Ladd is one of the top academics in the field and this is from one of the top journals in the world. Once again, try to focus on the concepts, not the details (which are a bit tedious in the American style of journal writing).

Dollery. B., Crase, L. and Johnson, A. (2006). Australian Local Government Economics. UNSW Press: Sydney. Brian Dollery has a very good section on this in Chapters 4 and 15.

Module Four:

Boadway, R. and Shah, A. (2009). Fiscal Federalism: Principals and Practice of Multiorder Governance. Cambridge Press: Cambridge. A very comprehensive guide on transfers in part 2.

Oates, W. (2011). Fiscal Federalism. Edward Elgar: Cheltenham. The most robust economic articulation of the efficiencies associated with decentralised government.

Ladd, H. and Yinger, J. (1989). America’s Ailing Cities: Fiscal health and the Design of Urban Policy. John Hopkins: Baltimore. Outlines an empirical methodology for HFE grant allocations.

Module Five:

Bruekner, J. (1997). Infrastructure Financing and Urban Development: The Economics of Impact Fees. Journal of Public Economics, 66: 383-407. The detail is heavy duty, just focus on the main message – which is the need for a suitable debt instrument to achieve inter-generational equity.

Drew, J. and Dollery, B. (2015) Less Haste More Speed: The Fit for Future Reform Program in New South Wales Local Government. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 75(1): 78-88. The section ‘Shifting Goal Posts; Ratios and Thresholds’ will provide students with a sense of the problems associated with using ratios to measure debt capacity and also the vigour with which state governments have pushed debt at local government (in order to arrive at expedient solutions).

Levine, H., Justice, J. and Scorsone, E. (Eds.). (2013). Handbook of Local Government Fiscal Health. Jones & Bartlett Learning: Burlington. Chapter 18 has a rare and excellent section on measuring debt capacity that is well worth a read.

Module Six:

Copeland, R. (1968). Income Smoothing. Journal of Accounting Research, 6: 101-116. The seminal paper on manipulation of accounting data for income smoothing purposes.

Evans, M and Zimmermann, A. (2014). Global Perspectives on Subsidiarity. Springer: New York. Excellent edited collection of works from Sirico, Chaplin, and Brennan in particular.

Golemboski, D. (2015). Federalism and the Catholic Principle of Subsidiarity. Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 45(4): 526-551. An excellent paper explaining how the Principe has been misrepresented in much of the scholarly literature.

Messner, J. (1952). Social Ethics; Natural Law in the Modern World. B Herder Book Co.: St Louis. The authoritative source on CST Natural Law – has a good section on subsidiarity commencing page 573.

Module Seven:

Fahey, G., Drew, J. and Dollery, B. (2016). Merger Myths: A Functional Analysis of Economies of Scale in New South Wales Municipalities. Public Finance and Management, 16(4): 362-382. Provides empirical evidence suggesting that only a few of the functions provided by local government seem to be subject to economies of scale.

Module Eight:

There are no additional readings for this session.

Module Nine:

Steccolini, I., Jones, M., and Saliterer, I. (2017). Governmental Financial Resilience: International Perspectives on how Local Governments Face Austerity. Emerald Publishing: United Kingdom.

Module Ten:

DeBruijn, H. (2007). Managing Performance in the Public Sector. Routledge: New York. A succinct and insightful introduction to PM for the public sector. Well worth a read.

Drew, J. and Gamage, S. (2018, forthcoming). Just Do It? A Cautionary Tale on Implementing Performance Management Regimes. This is a chapter that I was invited to write for a forthcoming Routledge publication. As soon as it becomes publicly available (the book hasn’t been published yet but the chapter has been written) I will add it to student readings as it has a good discussion of the sources of the performance paradox.

Bird, S., D. Cox, V. Farewell, H. Goldstein, T. Holt and P. Smith. 2005. ‘Performance Indicators:

Good, Bad, and Ugly’. Journal of Royal Statistical Society 168(1):1–27. An excellent review of the statistical challenges of PM.