Are there studies examining various characteristics of USA cities based on the amount of time they have been governed by Democrats or Republicans? Say, things like growth rates of population and economy, cost of living, quality of living, crime rates, homeless rate, etc. Have any such studies attempted to account for background features like industrial base, natural resources, natural tourist features, presence of a large military base, etc.?

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    Note that the results are subject to a chicken and egg dilemma: It is often not clear if a trend is due to the mayor being Democrat/Republican or if the trend is there first, leading people to elect Democrats/Republicans.
    – Thern
    Jul 3 '18 at 14:56
  • It's why I referred to attempt to account for background features. And why I mentioned the amount of time they have been governed by etc.
    – user21424
    Jul 3 '18 at 16:11
  • I think this question is predicated on the belief that all Democrats are the same and all Republicans are the same. Oftentimes, it's the specific mayor that's relevant, regardless of political affiliation.
    – user2565
    Jul 3 '18 at 16:35
  • @barrycarter Indeed. This is why I mentioned "time they were governed by" etc. Some cities have remained democrat or republican for decades. Others have flipped nearly as many times as there have been municipal elections. But it's not enough to say "<party X> here for 40 years so what you see is due to that." That's why I mentioned all the other background stuff. If, for example, a bad strategy is in place for a small town with a huge tourist attraction, maybe that strategy gets over ridden by the invisible export of happy tourists.
    – user21424
    Jul 3 '18 at 19:06

The party membership of executives is a common variable in political science. However, usually this is directed at either the national or sub-national unit level (in the U.S. sub-national units are states). For example, there is a plethora of scholarship which examines how Democrat or Republican presidencies have shaped the United States.

A quick search through some academic databases turned up an article you may be interested in. The American Journal of Political Science published an article which found that cities with Democratic mayors spent more on public safety than cities with Republican mayors. The same pattern was not found for tax policy or social policy.

The authors' explanation is that cities have control over their public safety policies, but must share authority with state/federal partners regarding social and tax policy. Therefore, they conclude that the party membership of the mayor only matters in policy areas where the city is in control.

Source: Gerber, Elisabeth R., and Daniel J. Hopkins. "When mayors matter: estimating the impact of mayoral partisanship on city policy." American Journal of Political Science 55, no. 2 (2011): 326-339


Raw data


San Diego, California (Republican, 2018)

The largest sectors of San Diego's economy are defense/military, tourism, international trade, and research/manufacturing.[119][120]In 2014, San Diego was designated by a Forbes columnist as the best city in the country to launch a small business or startup company[121].

New York, New York (Democrat, 2018)

New York is a global hub of business and commerce. The city is a major center for banking and finance, retailing, world trade, transportation, tourism, real estate, new media, traditional media, advertising, legal services, accountancy, insurance, theater, fashion, and the arts in the United States; while Silicon Alley, metonymous for New York's broad-spectrum high technology sphere, continues to expand. The Port of New York and New Jersey is also a major economic engine, handling record cargo volume in the first half of 2014.[317] In February 2017, New York City's unemployment rate fell to 4.3%, the lowest in the city's recorded history, with the city achieving the status of what many economists refer to as full employment.[318]

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    So what is the answer? Jul 3 '18 at 6:43
  • @indigochild As with any study within the domain of politics, whatever you want the answer to be. The first impression that this user got was the number of Democratic mayors far outnumbered Republican mayors. For some of the list items it took nearly an hour to cross reference the mayors' party to locate a Republican mayor to be representative in the answer within parentheses. Jul 3 '18 at 14:33
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    That is not true about any study within the "domain of politics". All good research has a clear answer, driven by a clear hypothesis and testing methodology. Strong theory helps. -1. Jul 3 '18 at 16:41

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