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What Have We Learned about the Performance of Council-Manager Government?

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journal contribution
posted on 13.05.2017, 00:00 authored by JB Carr
The 100th anniversary of the International City/County Management Association provides an excellent point to review and assess research on the performance of the council-manager form of government.  e development of the council-manager form arguably has been the most important innovation in American local government over the last century, yet its impact on the performance of municipal governments is not well understood.  is article reviews and assesses the empirical evidence for 10 propositions that council-manager governments perform better than mayor-council governments.  is evidence indicates that although progress has been made on demonstrating diff erences in representation and functionality, the proposition that council-manager governments are better managed than mayor-council governments has yet to be seriously engaged in this literature. Filling this critical gap requires progress in two areas: the development of theory to explain why council-manager governments are better-managed organizations and the production of evidence assessing the major propositions of this theory.


Publisher Statement

This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Carr, J. B. What Have We Learned about the Performance of Council-Manager Government? A Review and Synthesis of the Research. Public Administration Review. 2015. 75(5): 673-689. DOI: 10.1111/puar.12415, which has been published in final form at:





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