MPA Major Research Papers

Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration


Political Science


Taylor, Zack

Geographical Areas



This research report analyzes whether Ontario municipalities with ward-based electoral systems spend more per capita than those with at-large elections. American literature suggests that ward-based municipalities spend more because of log-rolling and politicians' greater responsiveness to neighbourhood electorates. The analysis considerd per-capita expenditures for all Ontario municipalities in the year 2011. Operating and capital expenditures were analyzed separately, as were lower-tier, single-tier, and upper-tier municipalities. Contrary to expectations, ward municipalities spend less per capita than at-large ones on average, however the difference between the two groups was not found to be statistically significant when controlling for municipality type, municipal population size, population density, and region.