Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Geoffrey K. Turnbull - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Christine H. Roch

Third Advisor

Dr. Douglas J. Krupka

Fourth Advisor

Dr. James R. Alm


Home rule power gives local governments greater authority to obtain and manage fiscal resources and determine the distribution and extent of public services. By design, this authority alters government outcomes. The vast decentralization and local government structure literature examining horizontal and vertical competition demonstrates the complexity of predicting the effect of home rule on government sector size. Adding to the complexity, home rule is fundamentally distinct from decentralization. Home rule power gives local governments greater fiscal, structural, and functional authority, while state governments may retain partial authority. This can result in duplication of revenue generation and service provision. Under the leviathan hypothesis direct and indirect constitutional constraints are necessary to control government expansion. State restrictions on home rule authority may serve as a form of direct constitutional constraint that has been overlooked in the economic literature. This dissertation uses 1990 and 2000 Census data to empirically test home rule and other institutional factors’ effects on government size. The results of the studies in this dissertation confirm that home rule relaxes a constraint on government size, finding that home rule states tend to have larger government sectors. The empirical evidence supporting the role of institutions in public sector performance is a primary contribution of this dissertation


Included in

Economics Commons