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Community Structure, Decision-Making, Budget Expenditures, and Urban Renewal in 51 American Communities

Terry N. Clark
American Sociological Review
Vol. 33, No. 4 (Aug., 1968), pp. 576-593
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2092442
Page Count: 18
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Community Structure, Decision-Making, Budget Expenditures, and Urban Renewal in 51 American Communities
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Abstract

A body of propositions relating community structural characteristics to decision-making patterns and to budget and urban renewal expenditures was tested using data collected in 51 American communities. From 22 different states throughout the United States, the communities ranged in population size from 50,000 to 750,000. Decision-making was investigated through questionnaires administered to a standard panel of community informants. An "ersatz decisional method" was used to identify actors initiating, supporting, opposing, and negotiating in four different issue areas. The degree to which actors overlapped from one issue area to the next and the total number of actors across all issue areas were combined in a measure of centralization of decision-making. As predicted, larger, more economically diversified communities with governmental structures favoring citizen participation had more decentralized patterns of decision-making. A decentralized decision-making structure, in turn, led to a higher level of community budget expenditures, and a larger urban renewal program. These findings generally supported our theory of the relationships between community structural characteristics and decision-making patterns, but contradicted our hypotheses regarding outputs.

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