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Overcoming the Neglect of Economics in Urban Regime Theory


* David L. Imbroscio, Department of Political Science, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292. E-mail:


Abstract Urban regime theory rightfully reigns as the dominant paradigm in the analysis of local governance. Nevertheless, regime theory has been hampered by its failure to engage economic questions in a sustained and systematic way, leaving it limited in both empirical and prescriptive terms. This article presents an agenda for research that allows for the engagement of economic questions in a way that enhances the strength of urban regime theory vis-à-vis economic determinist theories of urban politics. It then sketches some possible paths this research might take, with most of the attention given to developing the rudiments of a new alternative economics for regime theory. It also illustrates how this new alternative economic paradigm can potentially generate the conditions necessary for bringing about a fundamental reconstruction of urban regimes.