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Monthly Archives: May 2015

State and Local Government Review News

Special Issue on “Economic Polarization and Challenges to Subnational Governments
Long before the onset of the Great Recession, subnational governments both within and outside of the United Sates were continuously being confronted with problematic issues and challenges that seemed to defy any plausible remedy.  One of these challenges was how to reasonably and successfully address the increasing economic polarization of the residents of various subnational jurisdictions, along with the possible concomitant loss of the middle class.  Polarization has been linked to higher crime rates, issues of increased hunger (especially among school children), racial and ethnic unrest, distrust of authority, increases in political alienation and cynicism, decreases in political efficacy, and the loss of businesses that mostly serve middle class residents. At the same time, subnational governments have had to deal with the loss of substantial amounts of traditional kinds of revenue that are vitally needed to address these problems and resultant issues.  The severity and magnitude of these complex and interrelated challenges points to the need for scholarly study.  Plausible research questions include the following: 
·         From a governance perspective, what exactly does the term economic polarization mean?  Does this mean that there is both a decline of a “middle class” and a great divide between the lower and upper income classes?   What are the different manifestations of this phenomenon such as the degree of loss of the middle class as well as economic polarization?  What stage or level of economic polarization can result in policy or governance problems for subnational governments?

·         To what extent do taxing and spending policies at subnational levels redistribute burdens and benefits?

·         What are the specific ways/policy areas that polarization is evident (i.e., education, housing, stagnant wages, etc.)?

·         Has there been a change in the level of middle class loss or economic polarization? If so, when did these changes begin, are they increasing, or is it stable or declining? What are the best techniques to document or monitor these changes?

·         What factors contribute to increased economic polarization–actions by international, national, or subnational governments?

·         What are the implications of middle class loss and/ or economic polarization for subnational governance-i.e. what problems has this caused for subnational governments?

·         What actions have or could subnational governments take to reduce the loss of the middle class and economic polarization as well reduce the impact on their citizens?

·         Why hasn’t societal and economic information shown a capacity to scale effectively across jurisdictional, operational, and organizational boundaries?  Are we missing major policies and monitoring procedures that would identify this process more effectively, leading to more timely policy action?
Given the timeliness and importance of this subject matter and issue, the decision was made in early 2015 to dedicate the next Special Issue of State and Local Government Review to the topic of “Economic Polarization and Challenges to Subnational Governments.”  The call for papers went out in mid-February.  By April 1, we had not received a sufficient number of quality proposals from which to choose.  Therefore, it was decided to extend the submission deadline until May 1.  This resulted in a substantial number of additional proposals being submitted and increased the pool to 22 proposals.  In fact, we had more good proposals to choose from than we had space to include them in a 72-page issue.  Therefore, we selected what we thought were the five best proposals and invited the author(s) to develop a draft for initial review.  We also thought so highly of two other proposals that we invited the authors to develop manuscripts for consideration as general interest articles in SLGR.  The subject matter of the five commissioned papers for the special symposium includes the following: the impact of the political economy on inequality-producing policies; progressive responses to income polarization; redistribution as a part of mayoral policy agendas; the geography of urban poverty; and the impact on metropolitan polarization on local government reorganization.
The Special Issue will be published as the last issue of 2015 (Volume 47, Issue Number 4). 
Young Scholar Outreach Program
To date, the Young Scholar Outreach Program, that is designed to assist doctoral students seeking job placements and new faculty with a position at the instructor, assistant professor, or beginning associate professor level to get published in academia, is off to an excellent start.  Around twenty people have already contacted Dr. Scicchitano seeking guidance since the Program was launched in the Spring of 2014, and three manuscripts originating from the Program have either been published or awaiting publication in SLGR.  They are as follows:
  • “Political Trust in the American States” by Aaron C. Weinschenk and David J. Helpap (March 2015, Vol. 47, No. 1 Issue)
  • Morality Politics and Municipal LGBT Policy Adoption: A Rare Event Analysis” (March 2015, Vol. 47, No. 1 Issue)
  • “Government by Advice: Public Participation and Policymaking through Advisory Ballot Measures” by Todd Ely (June 2015, Vol.47, No. 2 Issue)
Persons having questions or wanting to participate in the program are encouraged to send an email to SLGR Editor Michael Scicchitano at mscicc@ufl.edu  or call him at (352) 846-2874. 
Assistance Needed
We continue to need your assistance and that of your colleagues in several crucial areas.  First, you can assist us in generating greater visibility for SLGR by signing up for e-mail alerts and encourage others to also do so.  Please consider doing that today, since it only takes a minute.  SLGR will send you an email each time a new issue publishes, and you can also add alerts for Online First articles or journal announcements. Visit http://slg.sagepub.com/cgi/alertsto create an account with your email address, and click on the alert types you’d like to receive. SAGE won’t use your email address for any other marketing purposes, only to send you information on SLGR.
A second area in which you can help us is to cite SLGR articles where possible.  Since SLGR was purchased by Sage Publications, Inc. in early 2010, getting SLGR listed in the Thomson Citation Index has been a major goal.  Achievement of this objective will assist in raising not only the visibility of the journal but will also put us in a more esteemed category of blind-refereed academic journals.  You and your colleagues can help us in achieving this objective by citing, where relevant and appropriate, SLGR articles when you prepare papers and articles.
In addition, we could use your assistance in increasing the visibility of SLGR around the world.  Here are some specific things that you could do for us:
  • Identify academic programs related to public policy or administration in (specify region of the world).
  • Identify scholars in (name region) (with email contact information) who publish in the area of public policy or administration.
  • Identify national or regional meetings in (specify the region of the world) at which papers are presented that relate to public policy of administration.
  • Identify ways to help link to or promote SLGR with practitioners in (name region of the world).
  • Provide any other ideas that will help us expand the visibility of SLGR in your country or region (if you are outside the US.)
SLGR Social Media
Please take a few minutes to join in the dialogue about our SLGR articles, research related to intergovernmental administration and management, and current issues by following us on Twitter (@SLGReview) and Facebook (facebook.com/SLGReview).  We are also in the process of creating an SLGR blog to provide an expanded forum for commenting, sharing, and posting about articles and issues important to our readers.  Look for more for it soon!  As always, we welcome your suggestions to make the new blog useful and interesting for both academics and practitioners.  Please send your ideas to Tracy Johns at SLGReview@gmail.com.

Member News: Kevin DeSouza, David Swindell, & Kendra Smith

Arizona State University’s Center for Urban Innovation and Brookings Institution Releases Report on the Trending Effects of New Technologies for Local Governments

Kevin DeSouza, David Swindell, and Kendra Smith at ASU’s Center for Urban Innovation co-authored a new Brookings Institution titled “Local Government 2035: Strategic Trends and Implications of New Technologies. Technological change is increasingly disruptive and destabilizing. In order to maintain effective governance systems, public sector entities must overcome stagnant tendencies and take a proactive stance—acting in the face of impending technological innovations. Future government entities must evolve into lean, responsive, and adaptive organizations capable of rapid response to societal shifts. The report illustrates how technological advancements, such as the proliferation of drone technologies, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, and peer-2-peer services, will introduce data privatization challenges and destabilize existing governance systems. In order to maintain effective service delivery, public sector entities must increasingly consider the ramifications technology will have on income inequality, fragile and conflict states, and immigration—just to name a few. Those interested can access it at http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2015/05/29-local-government-strategic-trends-desouza

Member News: Christopher V. Hawkins, Rachel M. Krause, Richard C. Feiock, & Cali Curley

A research article titled “Making meaningful commitments: Accounting for variation in cities’ investments of staff and fiscal resources to sustainability”, by Christopher V. Hawkins (UCF), Rachel M. Krause (KU), Richard C. Feiock (FSU) and Cali Curley (IUPU), has been published on the Urban Studies OnlineFirst webpage.