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Article
Did the big stick work? an empirical assessment of scale economies and the Queensland forced amalgamation program
Local Government Studies
  • Joseph Drew, University of New England
  • Michael A Kortt, Southern Cross University
  • Brian Dollery, University of New England
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
1-1-2016
Peer Reviewed
Peer-Reviewed
Abstract

In 2007, the Queensland Government imposed forced amalgamation with the number of local authorities falling from 157 to just 73 councils. Amalgamation was based inter alia on the assumption that increased economies of scale would generate savings. This paper empirically examines pre- and post-amalgamation (2006/07 and 2009/10) for scale economies. For the 2006/07 data, evidence of economies of scale was found for councils with populations up to 98,000, and thereafter diseconomies of scale. Eight percent of councils in 2006/07 (ten councils) – representing 64% of the state’s population – exhibited diseconomies of scale. For the 2009/10 data, the average cost curve remained almost stationary at 99,000 residents per council, but almost 25% of all councils (thirteen councils) were now found to exhibit diseconomies of scale. The compulsory merger program thus increased the proportion of Queensland residents in councils operating with diseconomies of scale to 84%.

Disciplines
Citation Information

Drew, J, Kortt, MA & Dollery, B 2016, 'Did the big stick work? an empirical assessment of scale economies and the Queensland forced amalgamation program', Local Government Studies, vol. 42, no. 1, pp. 1-14.

Published version available from:

http://doi.org/10.1080/03003930.2013.874341