December 16, 2009

The Rise of Sublocal Governance

  • Robert H. Nelson

    Professor, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland
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It would have been difficult to imagine as recently as 2007 that the workings of local housing markets would hold the key to the macroeconomic future of the nation. Yet, as we learned in 2008, problems with subprime mortgages, and in U.S. housing markets more generally, precipitated a major economic crisis with implications not only for the United States but all the world. The previous lack of scholarly interest in housing markets reflects a wider lack of interest in local government, land markets, and other local affairs. It is, arguably, America‘s most important, least-studied area of major public policy concern. This paper seeks to shed light on the rapid growth of new levels of sublocal governance over the past four decades and explain the implications of these new structures for policy.