Urban Sprawl and the Cost of Public Services: An Evaluation of Spanish Local Governments

  • Bernardino Benito University of Murcia, Faculty of Economics and Business
  • Francisco Bastida University of Murcia, Faculty of Economics and Business
  • María-Dolores Guillamón University of Murcia, Faculty of Economics and Business

Abstract

This paper evaluates the impact of urban sprawl on municipal expenditures, considering all the 3,179 Spanish municipalities with more than 1,000 inhabitants in 2005. We have ascertained that there is an influence of urban sprawl on per capita spending: the higher the population density, the lower the total investment and current expenditures per capita. This result supports the claims in favour of smart growth in municipalities. Furthermore, the economic level exerts a positive influence on expenditures per capita. Concerning social factors, our data show that population yields economies of scale to a limit (the function presents a U-shape): from the point of the minimum per-capita spending, if the population keeps on growing, per-capita spending rises. KEYWORDS: • urban sprawl • municipal spending • public services • smart growth • Spain

Author Biographies

Bernardino Benito, University of Murcia, Faculty of Economics and Business
Department of Accounting, Faculty of Economics and Business
Francisco Bastida, University of Murcia, Faculty of Economics and Business
Department of Accounting, Faculty of Economics and Business
María-Dolores Guillamón, University of Murcia, Faculty of Economics and Business
Department of Accounting, Faculty of Economics and Business
Published
2010-07-31
Section
Article