City Choices argues that both economic concerns and political factors can be synthesized in a new framework in city policymaking. This synthesis is based on a systematic empirical study of policymaking in two large cities. Using numerous governmental documents and conducting extensive interviews with local, state, and federal officials, the author examines how the two cities have implemented both federal redistributive and development programs in education and housing.
The author uses three models in explaining city choices: "economic constraint"; "clientele participation"; and "institutional diversity" and concludes by offering his "political choice" perspective, which identifies specific sets of local political forces that are likely to alter the city's rational choices in development and redistributive issues.
Kenneth K. Wong is Assistant Professor in the Department of Education at the University of Chicago. Previously, he co-authored When Federalism Works.
"This stands out from other work in this area in that it addresses case study evidence from all three of the main competing perspectives on the topic rather than from a single theoretical vantage point. Wong's revelation of the complex pattern of policy determinants which emerges from the interaction of political and economic factors is likely to strike readers as new and suggestive. " — Richard Rich, Virginia Tech