Comparative Metropolitan Organization: Service Production and Governance Structures in St. Louis (MO) and Allegheny County (PA)

“We argue that these areas, with their many units of local government, “work” by means of integrating structures built by local governments together with county and state governments. Counties, in particular, are a useful focus for study of metropolitan relationships because they often provide the institutional frame within which integrating structures are built.”

For many observers, a large number of governments in a metropolitan area is thought to equate to “fragmentation,” and fragmentation, to ineffective organization and poor performance. Other observers find a large number of local governments to mean competition and consequent pressures for efficiency.

The number of local governments, however, is only one dimension of the structure of a metropolitan area. We identify and measure key structural characteristics of “fragmented” metropolitan areas, employing a comparative study of two metropolitan city-counties: St. Louis City and County, Missouri, and Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania.

Published in Publius-the Journal of Federalism | R. Parks | 1993,,