Ambition, Seduction and the Barriers to Social Equity

I’m using this tab to buildout an article that 1) addresses the resistance of institutions to consider social equity in public administration and planning and 2) provides a recommendation to break this resistance. I’ve developed a detailed outline and will hop between sections to fill out the full text over the next several months. Below is my tentative abstract and the section headers of the prospective article.

Draft Abstract

The tension between individual and public interests has plagued state and local economic development activities since the dawn of the industrial revolution. Individual interests, whether pursuing wealth or political power, have routinely prevailed at the expense of the community commons, wages of workers, and opportunities for citizens of color. Scholars have diagnosed causes, effects and recommended ways to reconcile this tension. Public administrators and urban planners have attempted to solve the problem by introducing the concept of equity into the processes of governing. Nevertheless, countervailing forces relentlessly pursuing financial and political capital and the strategies a wide range of rational actors employ can be either too coercive or seductive for government administrators and planners to counterbalance. Disrupting these forces to even consider centering equity in the machinations of public administration and planning requires vertical integration and formal intervention in local planning approvals, tax and incentive structures and wage regulations. The primary takeaway is that communities need a well-funded public interest advocate with real-time access to information, the ability to hire experts to represent the community, and a formal hearing process to challenge the claims of politicians, administrators and project proponents.

A History of the Problem


The Literature on Rational Behavior

Coase, Brennan & Buchannan…

The Ambition of Local Politicians and the Power to Promote

The Seduction of Public Administration and Planning Professionals

The Legislated Mutations of Real Estate Development

Vertical Integration of Public Actions

Intervening in the Public Interest