BOOK REVIEW: The Theory and Practice of Local Government Reform
Structural reform has been one of the most important and hotly contested features of modern local government. From North America to Europe to Australasia, local government boundaries have been redrawn over the last two decades. In many countries it seems that structural change has been the ‘default’ option to which successive generations of policy makers are irresistibly drawn time and time again. And yet the reasons for the extraordinary popularity of this particular policy instrument and, more importantly, its impacts are under-researched. There is a dearth of rigorous empirical analysis of the costs and benefits and the relative effectiveness of different kinds of structural change and different approaches to implementing them. The Theory and Practice of Local Government Reform, edited by Brian E. Dollery and Lorenzo Robotti, is then a very welcome attempt to address these issues in comprehensive and comparative fashion, which draws upon expert knowledge of recent developments from across an impressive range of different countries and contexts.