24 Nov, 2011

Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance launches new series of research publications

Toronto, November 24, 2011 – The Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, has released five research papers by leading scholars on municipal finance, the first in what will be an ongoing series of publications intended to inform debate on important issues in large cities and city-regions.

The first five titles, which will be available as short booklets from IMFG (upon request), are:

1.      Are There Trends in Local Finance? A Cautionary Note on Comparative Studies and Normative Models of Local Government Finance, by Richard M. Bird

Bird, a senior fellow at the Institute, looks at the challenges involved in making cross-country comparisons of municipal finance arrangements, and describes the uses and drawbacks of five models of local government that are often used in comparative research.

2.      The Property Tax—in Theory and Practice, by Enid Slack

Slack, director of the Institute, provides a succinct and critical overview of the uses and potential of municipal property taxes, showing why they are often underused and why they can be very difficult to reform.

3.      Financing Large Cities and Metropolitan Areas, by Enid Slack

Here, Slack explores the financing of services and infrastructure in large cities and metropolitan areas, and considers whether large cities spend more than smaller cities, have greater fiscal capacity than smaller places, and are treated differently from other cities in fiscal terms by other orders of government.

4.      Coping with Change: The Need to Restructure Urban Governance and Finance in India, by M. Govinda Rao and Richard M. Bird

Rao, of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy in New Delhi, and Bird of the IMFG identify key reforms needed to ensure greater accountability in urban governance in India, as well as to strengthen the capacity of Indian cities to deliver services and provide needed urban infrastructure.

5.      Revenue Diversification in Large U.S. Cities, by Howard Chernick, Adam Langley, and Andrew Reschovsky

Using the concept of “constructed governments” to compare the revenue-raising policies of large central cities across time and space, the authors test the hypothesis that a more diversified revenue structure generates more revenues than one that relies primarily on the property tax.

The Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG) at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, focuses on developing solutions to the fiscal and governance problems facing large cities and city-regions. IMFG is funded by the Province of Ontario, the City of Toronto, Avana Capital, and TD Bank.

The IMFG Papers on Municipal Finance and Governance are designed to disseminate research being undertaken in academic circles in Canada and abroad on municipal finance and governance issues. The series will include papers by local researchers and graduate students as well as international scholars.

For more information, please contact:

Enid Slack
Director, Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance
University of Toronto
Munk School of Global Affairs
1 Devonshire Place, Room 304N
Toronto, ON M5S 3K7