The Urban Impact of Federal Policies

Their Direct and Indirect Effects on the Local Public Sector

by Stephen M. Barro


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Summarizes portions of an ongoing RAND study, sponsored by the Kettering Foundation, of the urban impacts of federal policies. The conceptual framework of the overall study is outlined and a summary is presented of the substantive research pertaining to the local public sector. The latter covers federal policies that affect (1) the urban revenue base, (2) the availability of state and federal aid and revenue subsidies, (3) the public service "needs" of the urban population, (4) the costs of providing services, and (5) the scope of local service responsibilities. The conclusions emphasize the importance of federal policies that affect the local public sector indirectly — especially those that affect the locational incentives of private businesses and households.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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