Large metropolitan cities differ from other cities. Metropolitan public finance is also different because such cities spend more and differently than other cities and usually raise more of the revenue that they spend. Cities, like the governance structures within which they operate, differ substantially from country to country so there is no single best way to finance their public sectors. However, as this session will discuss, there are a few general principles to which many countries could usefully pay more attention such as thinking through carefully how best to balance central and local financial and fiscal responsibilities and accountability, establishing more appropriate metropolitan governance structures, and providing growing metropolitan areas with better ways to raise the funds they need to provide infrastructure and services.
Richard M. Bird is Professor Emeritus of Economics, Rotman School of Management, and Adjunct Professor and Senior Fellow of the Institute for Municipal Governance and Finance, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. He is also Distinguished Visiting Professor, Andrew Young School of Public Policy at Georgia State University in Atlanta, and Adjunct Professor of the Australian School of Taxation and Business Law of the University of New South Wales, Australia. He has served with the Fiscal Affairs Department of the IMF, and has been a visiting professor in the United States, the Netherlands, Australia, Japan, and India as well as a frequent consultant to the World Bank and other national and international organizations.