The temporal dependence of public policy evaluation: the case of local government amalgamation

Taylor and Francis Group
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Local Government Studies, 2023, 49, (5), pp. 953-974
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
Amalgamation has been a cornerstone of many local government reform programmes internationally. However, there has been a lack of consensus in the academic literature surrounding the outcomes associated with amalgamation. One potential explanation for this is the difference in the length of time over which the evaluation takes place. In order to determine if the impacts of boundary reform are indeed temporally dependent on nature, we collected and analysed a 17-year panel of empirical data from a large-scale amalgamation programme in 2008. Our results indicate that the outcomes arising from the program do indeed display variation over time, with initial savings being negated by increased costs in the medium-term and ultimately an insignificant impact over the long term. The public policy implications and recommendations suggested by our analysis have important implications for the design and evaluation of future local government boundary reform programmes.
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