The Business of Being Mayor: Mayors and Fiscal Policy in U.S. Cities

TitleThe Business of Being Mayor: Mayors and Fiscal Policy in U.S. Cities
Publication TypeUnpublished
AuthorsKirkland P
Abstract

Does electing a business owner or executive have an effect on public policy? Business interests have a long history of involvement and influence in American politics, but we know relatively little about business owners and executives in public office. With an original dataset of 3,257 mayoral candidates from 263 U.S. cities between 1950 and 2007, I provide a fresh
account of descriptive representation in American cities and investigate the effect of electing a business executive mayor on local fiscal policy. Business owners and executives are extraordinarily well represented in city halls across the U.S., making up nearly 32% of the mayors in my sample. I find that business executive mayors do shape municipal fiscal policy by shifting
the allocation of expenditures across policy areas, investing in infrastructure while curtailing redistributive spending. Notably, my results suggest that business executive is not simply a proxy for Republican partisanship.

URLhttps://patriciaakirkland.files.wordpress.com/2018/10/kirkland_business_mayors_090818.pdf