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date: 28 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The complexity of local boundaries, and the political fragmentation that produces that complexity, have long attracted the attention of those who study local politics. This essay reviews the literature investigating the functions, determinants, and effects of local government boundaries. The emphasis is on the state of research on local boundaries, but the essay closes with some recommendations for future research. The author argues for more fine-grained studies that address the appropriateness of existing political boundaries, given the distribution of populations and the nature of underlying policy problems, and that examine the effect of boundary organization on the development and maintenance of political community.

Keywords: boundaries, special districts, population, policy problems, political community, geography, competition, efficiency

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