Public Policy

Local Effects of State Takeovers: Drinking water systems in Michigan



This paper is motivated by the growing use of state takeovers of local units of government and the growing financial precarity of many U.S. cities. Takeover policies have been shown broadly to disproportionately target low income and minority communities and to prioritize service reduction and cost cutting measures. Michigan's state takeover policy, Public Act 436, has come under particular scrutiny due to its role in the Flint water crisis. In this paper, we examine the implementation of PA 436 to determine if majority-black cities in financial distress have been more likely to trigger the provisions of Public Act 436. We then use case studies to determine the consequences of emergency management for drinking water services. Our findings have implications for the study of state takeovers and their local effects, and for the evaluation of Michigan’s Public Act 436, which remains in place despite significant controversy.


Thumbnail image of Hughes et al. APSA State Takeovers.pdf


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