Patterns in Special District Creation and Dissolution


Christopher B. Goodman, “Patterns in Special District Creation and Dissolution.”



Special districts are a numerous and unique form of local government in the United States. Unlike cities, counties, and towns, special districts are created and dissolved often. Using tools from the industrial organizations literature, this analysis examines patterns in creation and dissolution of special districts using Census of Governments data from 1972 to 2017. Overall, the rate of entry (creation) has been declining over time while the rate of exit (dissolution) has remained steady. New districts tend to be small relative to existing districts and and exhibit slow growth over time. Lastly, special districts do not appear susceptible to the “liability of newness” or exhibit high levels of infant organizational mortality that is common in the private sector.

BibTeX Citation

  author = {Goodman, Christopher B},
  note = {Working Paper},
  title = {Patterns in Special District Creation and Dissolution},
  year = {2020}

« The Fiscal Impacts of Urban Sprawl: Evidence from U.S. County Areas | Publications List | Tensions in State-Local Intergovernmental Response to Emergencies: The Case of COVID-19 »



To receive updates from this site, you can subscribe to the  RSS feed of all updates to the site in an RSS feed reader