Poster Paper: Threat to Urban Democracy? Municipal State Takeover and Implications for Civic Engagement

Thursday, November 8, 2012
Liberty A & B (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Ashley E Nickels, Rutgers University

Considerable national attention has focused on the Emergency Financial Management legislation and municipal state takeover of Benton Harbor, Michigan. The literature on fiscal oversight and emergency financial management has focused primarily on how and why State's  declare local fiscal emergencies and the legal implications, yet little scholarly attention has focused on the impact of municipal state takeovers on urban democracy.  While the Benton Harbor case continues to unfold on the national screen, an overtime analysis of the state takeover of Camden, New Jersey offers important insights. Using a historical institutional lens, this paper examines how the implementation of Municipal Rehabilitation and Economic Recovery Act (MRERA) and subsequent institutional changes impacted the level of civic engagement of Camden residents over time.