This paper relates New York City's experience since 1975, a period characterized by local economic and fiscal crisis and a gradual recovery from it, to four prevailing themes in the contemporary literature of cities and public administration. Drawing on analysis in the first five volumes of the Setting Municipal Priorities project, the authors suggest that: (1) urban economic decline is neither a continuous nor inevitable process, and that local government policy can play an important role in reversing such decline; (2) public officials have more ability to alter spending priorities than the incrementalist/decrementalist model of budgeting admits; (3) municipal government retrenchment, or the paring down of "slack" resources, promotes rather than impedes managerial innovation and improvement; (4) cuts in public expenditure do not necessarily translate into reductions in the level and quality of public services. From the authors' perspective, studies that emphasize the immutability of forces causing urban decline, the inability of public officials to control the allocation and improve the management of public resources, and the dependence of better services on more expenditure contribute to undue pessimism about the future of cities and their management.
Horton, Raymond, and Charles Brecher. "Retrenchment and Recovery: American Cities and the New York Experience." Public Administration Review 45, no. 2 (1985): 267-274.
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