The Varieties of Consolidation Experience: A Synthesis and Extension of Local Government Consolidation Models




Local Government Consolidation, Comparative Case Study, Indiana


This article revises and extends Leland and Thurmaier’s (2004a, 2004b) City—County Consolidation (C3) model by synthesizing it with Johnson’s (2004) Theory of Local Constitutional Change (LCC) and Hughes and Lee’s (2002) Evolutionary Consolidation Model (ECM). The result, we find, is a more general model of local government consolidation. Our model is applicable to a wider variety of consolidation types and incorporates a full consideration of varied charter development processes. Ultimately, this allows for acknowledgment of the possibility that consolidation attempts may be halted prior to a referendum campaign and that those attempts may reflect either conflicts of interest or consensual efforts at problem-solving. We focus specifically on Indiana after enactment of the 2006 Government Modernization Act. After enactment of the act, Indiana experienced seven consolidation efforts from 2008 to 2012. Examination of these efforts provides a robust comparative case study of consolidation efforts occurring during a narrow timeframe and under a common institutional context. The study not only illustrates the suitability of our revised and extended model, but it also confirms a number of Leland and Thurmaier’s (2005) findings from their reassessment of the C3 model.

Author Biographies

  • Charles D. Taylor, Ball State University

    Charles D. Taylor is managing director of the Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University. He is also an Associate Professor of political science and director of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program. His research focuses on state and local budgeting and public policy, including coauthoring several studies related to local government consolidation. He received his doctorate in policy studies from Clemson University.   

  • Dagney Faulk, Ball State University

    Dagney Faulk is Director of Research in the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) at Ball State University in Muncie, IN. Her research focuses on regional economic development issues and state and local tax policy. She has worked on numerous Indiana focused policy studies on a variety of topics including analysis of fixed-route bus transit, the regional distribution of state government taxes and expenditures, local government consolidation, and property tax issues. She is coauthor (with Michael Hicks) of the book Local Government Consolidation in the United States (Cambria Press, 2011). She received her Ph.D. in economics from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. 

  • Pamela Schaal, Ball State University

    Pamela Schaalis an Associate Professor of political science and public administration at Ball State University. Her research focuses on the political conditions which enhance our institutional separation of powers and system of federalism, namely more enhanced veto points achieved through divided government. She received her doctorate in political science from the University of Notre Dame. Before returning to academia, Dr. Schaal worked in Washington, DC for several think tank contractors including the Urban Institute and the COSMOS Corporation as well as for several Members of Congress (from both political parties).






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