Security Investigate

Elected Versus Appointed Policymakers: Evidence From City Treasurers

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Executive Summary

This paper investigates whether methods of public official selection affect policymaking in cities. The author draws on the unique characteristics of California's city referendum process to identify the causal effect of city treasurers' method of selection on their cities' debt management policies. The author utilizes a regression discontinuity strategy based on the effect of narrowly-passing appointive city treasurer referendums on city borrowing costs. The results indicate that appointive treasurers reduce a city's cost of borrowing by 13% to 23%.

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