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Policy and Politics in Belgian Cities

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Patterns of public policies as reflected by the expenditure of local governments of 196 Belgian cities are examined in the context of five hypotheses explaining variations in expenditure patterns. The role a city plays in the urban system of the nation-state, as reflected by the index of ecological centrality, is found to have the most pervasive effect on various types of expenditures. Population stagnation of cities, the explanation of which is essentially political, is also found to be an important factor affecting most types of expenditures, although it is in reality a surrogate for region. Socialist-controlled cities are found to spend more on social welfare expenditures than Catholic-controlled cities, but the effect of the ideological orientation of the dominant party in local politics is restricted to these kinds of expenditures. Finally, the degree of political competitiveness is found to have little or no effect on expenditures once other factors are controlled. The importance of politics in the explanation of public policies in cities is reassessed in the light of these findings.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1980

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