St. Louis Fed Regional Economist Charles S. Gascon explores how the number of governments in a particular metropolitan statistical area (MSA) might affect regional economic performance, as measured by population growth. MSAs are economic units that include major cities and that span multiple counties.
Gascon starts off with key questions and issues to be addressed. These include: What factors determine how many local (i.e., municipal and township) governments an area will have? Is there is an ideal range for the number of governments? Why do regions grow at different rates?
Karen Branding, senior vice president of Public Affairs, introduces Gascon and invites people to explore the St. Louis Fed’s publicly available resources. These include previous Dialogue with the Fed discussions and the Economy Museum.
After the keynote, Branding moderates a panel discussion featuring Gascon; E. Terrence “Terry” Jones, a professor emeritus of political science and public policy administration and dean emeritus of arts and sciences at the University of Missouri-St. Louis; and Yvonne Sparks, an assistant vice president in the St. Louis Fed’s Community Development Department.
The panelists field questions including: What does research tell us about social mobility? What does political research reveal as to why the St. Louis area has so many governments? What challenges and opportunities does a large number of governments create for community development organizations operating in the region? Could it be that the number of governments and school districts drives segregation, rather than the other way around?