County Service Delivery: Does Government Structure Matter?



Very little systematic research has been conducted to determine the policy effects of changing the form of county government. The findings of this study suggest that efforts to modernize county government structure may enable county officials to respond successfully to increasing citizen demands for a higher level of current services as well as expand the menu of services. Specifically, there is a strong association between the type of county government (non-charter commission, non-charter commission/appointed administrator or elected executive, or charter commission/appointed administrator or elected executive) and county spending for all types of services. In addition, there is a strong linkage between type of county government and three categories of county services representative of the service roles of the modern American county—that is, traditional, local, and regional services.