Writing good exam questions is hard. If done correctly, the student should have no idea the lengths you went through to write a good set of questions. But maybe they should know just how difficult it really is. This semester I tried an experiment: allow my masters students a chance to write their own midterm exam (with some pretty specific guidelines). We’ll see how it turns out, but so far I have been impressed with how much they have taken to the idea.

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I recently had the pleasure of writing a blog post for the London School of Economic’s US Centre Blog. It covers a recent publication in State and Local Government Review on the implications of overlapping local governments on local public employment in the US. You can find more information about this piece here. See below for the full text of the post as well as a link to the original.

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Zipf's Law

12 December 2018

Zipf’s law is a constant curiosity for urban observers. According to the law, the size of a city (i.e. population) is inversely related to the city’s population rank. This implies that the largest city is twice as large as the second largest city, three times as large as the third largest city, and so on.

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Recent Work

  • “The Fiscal Impacts of Urban Sprawl: Evidence from U.S. County Areas.” Public Budgeting & Finance Abstract  pdf
  • “Local Government Fragmentation: What Do We Know?” State and Local Government Review Abstract  pdf
  • “Do Cities and Counties Attempt to Circumvent Changes in Their Autonomy by Creating Special Districts?” The American Review of Public Administration 49 (2): 203-217. Abstract  pdf
  • “Patterns in Special District Creation and Dissolution.” Abstract  pdf

Current Teaching


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