The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The common-pool problem is a central issue in the relationship between the political structure of jurisdictions and the size of public spending. Models predict that, other things being equal, greater political districting of a jurisdiction raises the scale of government. This paper presents new evidence on this and related predictions from a cross-section of city governments in the United States. The main finding is that one additional legislator is associated, on average, with 3 percent larger expenditures per capita. Evidence also suggests that forms of government with strong executives, particularly those with veto powers, break the link between districting and government size.