Does Size Still Matter? An Empirical Analysis of the Effectiveness of Victorian Local Authorities

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Journal Article
Local Government Studies, 2016, 42 (1), pp. 15 - 28
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© 2014 Taylor & Francis. Efficiency approaches to the question of whether population size matters to optimal local government have proved largely inconclusive. However, recent exploratory empirical work employing an effectiveness approach – as proxied by citizen satisfaction survey data – offers a promising way forward. The present paper seeks to build upon an earlier cross-sectional analysis of Victorian local government by employing longitudinal data over a three-year period – 2008 to 2010 – for Victorian local authorities. The greater depth of data confirmed the positive associations with population density but suggests that negative linear relationships dominate over parabolic associations for population size. This result underlines the need for the collection of more local government citizen satisfaction data by Australian local government systems, given its potentially fruitful application in tackling contentious questions in contemporary local government policy debates.
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