Capturing Structural and Functional Diversity through Institutional Analysis: The Mayor Position

2016, Urban Affairs Review, with Richard Feiock, Christopher M. Weible, Cali Curley, Aaron Deslatte, & Tanya Heikkila

Full title: "Capturing Structural and Functional Diversity through Institutional Analysis: The Mayor Position in City Charters”

Link to article


City charters affect the governance of municipal systems in complex ways. Current descriptions and typologies developed to study city charter structures simplify the diverse types and configurations of institutional rules underlying charter designs. This research note demonstrates a more detailed approach for studying the design of city charters using analytical methods based on the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework. This approach is illustrated with a pilot study of institutional rules in municipal charters that define the roles and duties of mayors. The findings reveal that city charters exhibit great institutional diversity, particularly within strong mayor cities. We conclude with a research agenda that could generate a more precise and rigorous understanding of the relationship between the different configurations of institutions of city charters and the politics, governance, and performance of municipalities.