Date of Award

Winter 1998

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Management

Committee Director

Wolfgang Pindur

Committee Member

G. William Whitehurst

Committee Member

Wilbur W. Stanton

Committee Member

Leonard I. Ruchelman


The purpose of this study is to examine municipal involvement in international relations in the United States. This municipal phenomenon is occurring concurrently with both a shift away from the traditional nation-centric structure of international relations under the influence of globalism as well as a sharp decline in intergovernmental aid. The research questions were: (1) What are the indicators that define municipal involvement in international relations? and (2) What is the extent of that involvement?

Extensive qualitative and research was conducted in the form of an exploratory literature survey which was set forth in narrative analysis to overcome the paucity of specific research in this area. The qualitative research developed 121 indicators of municipal international involvement. The 121 indicators were analytically grouped into economic, technological, sociocultural, political, and intergovernmental relations indicator groups. The qualitative research concluded that municipal involvement in international relations was a spreading phenomenon and that many American municipalities are substantially involved in international activities.

In support of the qualitative results, 32 of the 121 indicators were validated through analysis of an independent random sample quantitative cross-sectional survey of American municipalities. The survey indicated substantial but varied involvement in international activities by municipalities. Exploratory quantitative analysis indicated that 12 of the 34 indicator variables, split between the economic, sociocultural, and political constructs, contributed significantly to municipal strength as an indicator of municipal international involvement. Exploratory quantitative analysis also indicated that the 32 indicators grouped into three composite constructs; i.e., economic, sociocultural, and political activities. Analysis of the composite constructs determined that only sociocultural activities made a significant contribution to municipal strength as an indicator of the degree of international involvement.

The results of this study indicated that many municipalities in the United States are involved in international relations and assisted in the definition of variables indicating the nature and extent of that involvement. Many avenues of future research are warranted.