Debt Wish: Entrepreneurial Cities, U.S.Federalism and Economic Development

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Albert Sbragia considers American urban government as an investor whether for building infrastructure or supporting economic development. Over time, such investment has become disconnected from the normal political and administrative processes of local policymaking through the use of special public spending authorities like water and sewer commissions and port, turnpike, and public power authorities.Sbragia explores how this entrepreneurial activity developed and how federal and state policies facilitated or limited it. She also analyzes the implications of cities creating innovative, special-purpose quasi-governments to circumvent and dilute state control over city finances, diluting their own authority in the process.