• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

A local government is any subnational territorial unit of the national state or government; the unit is formally responsible for administrative and policy functions related to the delivery of a range of public services. Where local government also includes elected offices, such as mayors or councils, it performs the political function of the representation of local interests.

Local governments are typically defined by geographic territory and range from the largest spatial units, such as regions or provinces, to cities, rural areas, and counties and villages. In many intergovernmental systems, local government refers to both meso (provinces, regions, or states) and municipal (urban and rural) levels. Local governments are here considered primarily at the latter level, also often referred to as “general purpose” local governments. “Special purpose” ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles