Business improvement districts in Pennsylvania: Implications for democratic metropolitan governance

Göktug Morçöl, Patricia A. Patrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This article discuses the results of an empirical study on the business improvement districts (BID)s in Pennsylvania. As self-assessment districts that have gained economic and political importance in metropolitan areas, BIDs pose challenges for metropolitan governance. This article examines Pennsylvania's BIDs to illustrate these challenges. Pennsylvania is one of the earlier states to legally enable BIDs and it has a wide variety of BIDs: from the wealthiest and most functionally diverse to those with very limited funds and scope. The evolution of the BID laws in Pennsylvania are discussed. Also discussed are the processes of BID creation, continuation, and dissolution; the proliferation of their functions and powers; their revenue sources; and their accountability to local governments and general publics. The findings of the research suggest that multiple theoretical explanations are needed to understand BIDs since they are simultaneously mechanisms of privatized public service delivery and policy implementation and active participants in metropolitan governance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-171
Number of pages35
JournalInternational Journal of Public Administration
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Public Administration


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