States such as Texas ("Municipal Utility Districts") and Florida ("Community Development Districts") authorize the creation of developer-initiated special purpose districts. These districts can issue infrastructure development bonds which are then paid off by future residents. Development districts in many respects act as a substitute for municipal governments, but operate much differently, raising important efficiency and equity questions. Moreover, urban areas in which development districts proliferate become highly institutionally fragmented, with many small neighborhood scale entities responsible for the delivery of water, wastewater, and other public services. In collaboration with Dr. Aaron Deslatte at the IU O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and Dr. David Carter at the University of Utah Department of Political Science, this project addresses questions such as:
What are the theoretical and practical implications of this institutional model of growth?
How do development districts impact land use and affect regional sprawl?
and forthcoming work on how the financial structure of development districts affect public debt loads.