Research Reports

NLC provides evidence-based research and analysis that draws upon the experiences and observations of city leaders to help frame and evaluate research agendas. Research reports and briefs provide city leaders with in-depth analysis based upon a variety of research methodologies on current and emerging issues affecting cities and towns.

  • City Fiscal Conditions in 2012

    City Fiscal Conditions in 2012

    The nation’s cities continue to cut personnel, infrastructure investments and key services as the prolonged effects of the economic downturn take their toll on city finances according to the National League of Cities 27th annual City Fiscal Conditions report.

  • Small Business Growth: U.S. Local Policy Implications (2011)

    Many local leaders are turning attention to growing their small business community in order to realize tangible economic impacts including job creation and exporting local goods and services. The most effective ways local governments create opportunities for small businesses, according to the new NLC research, are to provide an efficient regulatory environment and avenues for local businesses to engage with policy makers. Other local tools to support small businesses, including management development assistance, revolving loan funds and marketing assistance do not appear to have the expected impact on small business growth. The analysis is based on the 2009 National League of Cities/International City-County Management Association Economic Development survey.

  • Local Government Contracting (2011)

    With increased fiscal challenges for many cities across America, more local leaders have begun investigating alternative means for delivering services, namely contracting or privatization. A survey on Local Government Contracting conducted by American University with support of NLC finds that contracting produces high-quality services to citizens, but only when local government managers ensure strong relationships with contractors, vendor competition, and contract accountability. The use of contracting creates the need for a new set of local management skills and raises issues about the quality of contracted services, new costs associated with contracting, managing vendor competition and ensuring optimal contract performance.

  • State of America's Cities: Special Section on Workforce Development (2011)

    State of America's Cities: Special Section on Workforce Development" reports that while cities are increasingly involved in workforce development activities, there appears to be some potential governance and partnership challenges between the workforce investment boards and city governments.

  • Resilience in the Face of Foreclosures: Lessons from Local and Regional Practice (2011)

    Resilience in the Face of Foreclosures: Lessons from Local and Regional Practice (2011)

    The foreclosure crisis is an opportunity to reorient housing strategies to focus on creating and supporting neighborhoods that offer residents an attractive place to live. The Building Resilient Regions Network, funded by the MacArthur Foundation through the University of California at Berkeley, is developing applied knowledge about how regions can be resilient in the face of significant challenges, such as foreclosures, rapid immigration and economic restructuring. As part of this project, "Resilience in the Face of Foreclosures: Lessons from Local and Regional Practice," highlights the ways in which cities and counties, and their elected local leaders, are successfully responding to the continuing waves of home mortgage foreclosures, vacant properties and destabilized neighborhoods. Covering six metropolitan areas, St. Louis, Atlanta, Chicago, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Cleveland and Riverside-San Bernardino, the report offers a summary of significant strategies that help mitigate the foreclosure challenge and set the stage for initiatives designed to revitalize the neighborhoods that have been adversely impacted.

  • Research Reports Library

    NLC provides evidence-based research and analysis that draws upon the experiences and observations of city leaders to help frame and evaluate research agendas. Research reports and briefs provide city leaders with in-depth analysis based upon a variety of research methodologies on current and emerging issues affecting cities and towns.