La taille du conseil municipal et le coût de la représentation démocratique dans les principales villes du Québec et du Canada

Despite an ongoing debate on the size of municipal council in several Canadian cities, especially in Quebec, relatively few studies have measured the impact of the number of elected officials on local public finances. This research analyzes the budgetary effects of the size of council in Canada's and Quebec's largest cities. Do more elected officials lead to higher municipal expenses? This report looks at the question through multivariate regressions on cross sections of, on one hand, Canadian municipalities with a population of over 200,000 and, on the other hand, Quebec municipalities of over 20,000 inhabitants. The research shows that the number of elected officials has a double financial effect on municipalities. It impacts both the council's operations as well as democratic life. Council expenses in the cities we have looked at increase proportionally to the number of elected officials, with elasticity coefficients between 0,8 and 0,9. Elected officials also have an indirect effect on public expenses because of their inclination not to internalize their use of common resources. This effect on total municipal expenses can be significant, with elasticity coefficients of up to 0,4. Despite this, council size usually remains a trivial issue from a public municipal finances standpoint, especially when considered in proportion of total budgets.
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