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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Not Just Pensions: The Social Origins of Municipal Bankruptcy in California

  • Author(s): Martin, Isaac William
  • et al.

The purpose of this brief is to place these bankruptcies in comparative perspective and to highlight some lessons from relevant social science on the roots of big-city fiscal crises. Big-city bankruptcies are sufficiently rare events that we cannot rely on statistical studies of a large sample of cases to determine their causes. We do, however, have a substantial case-study literature on the causes of fiscal strain in California cities.

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