Government Consolidation and Economic Development in Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh

by Rae W. Archibald, Sally Sleeper


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Pittsburgh — Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, has more governmental units per capita than any region in the nation. Fragmented governance correlates with poor regional performance on population and employment measures. The Citizens Advisory Committee on the Efficiency and Effectiveness of City-County Government asked RAND to examine whether consolidating the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County would enhance economic development. This report concludes that, although evidence is mixed and effects difficult to measure, several features of consolidation — unity of leadership, improved policy direction, and sharpened economic-development initiatives — could do so. However, the report also notes that increased cooperation and collaboration with the private sector is important and that combining only two of the many local governments still leaves substantial government fragmentation in the region.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    City-County Consolidations: History and Theoretical Rationales

  • Chapter Three

    City-County Consolidation: Practitioners’ and Academics’ Views

  • Chapter Four

    The Economic-Development Case

  • Chapter Five

    Consolidating the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County

  • Appendix

    Interview Protocol

The research described in this report was sponsored by the Citizens Advisory Committee on the Efficiency and Effectiveness of City-County Government and was conducted under the auspices of the Environment, Energy, and Economic Development Program (EEED) within RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment (ISE).

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