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Response to Henrik Selin's review ofGoverning the Tap: Special District Governance and the New Local Politics of Water

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 March 2011


In his careful and generous review of my book, Henrik Selin asks why I selected responsiveness and intergovernmental coordination as dependent variables for my analysis, therefore setting aside other policy effects that special district governance might produce. This is an important question: the delegation of policy authority to autonomous, specialized governments is a significant departure from the normal politics that takes place in a multidimensional legislature and could have a variety of consequences. To the extent that special districts have received any scholarly attention, it has focused mostly on estimating how specialization affects the level of public spending. My interest lies more in the quality of governance. What do we want from representative government? Central among our goals should be policy outcomes that are responsive both to public preferences and to public problems.

Critical Dialogue
Copyright © American Political Science Association 2011

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