Associate Professor Phuong Nguyen recently received Best Paper Award from the Midwest Public Affairs Conference. The paper, “Impact of home rule on municipal boundary and fiscal expansion: Evidence from Texas,” is forthcoming in the Journal of Regional Science. It is co-authored with Pengju Zhang, School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers University, and Na Chen, School of Government, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China.
This study examines the impact of home rule on municipal boundary and fiscal expansion in Texas. It leverages variation in the adoption of home rule charters in Texas to provide the first empirical examination of whether home rule adoption causes municipal boundary expansion. The authors employ fuzzy regression-discontinuity and event-study estimation methods on actual boundary data for causal inference and find that home rule cities expand their boundaries to significantly greater total area than general law cities in Texas. This finding is robust to the voluntary Boundary and Annexation Surveys data used widely by extant studies. Nguyen et al. also find evidence that annexations allow home rule cities to fiscally expand, primarily by broadening tax bases.