First, from Episode 145 of Sean Carroll’s Mindscape podcast, an interview with Niall Ferguson.
Craig W: I’m curious about economies of scale with respect to local government. It seems like it should be more efficient to deliver services to a larger number of residents. And It seems to be true in at least some cases. But it also seems that larger cities seem to be high tax environments relative to their suburbs or smaller cities. So what’s going on here? Is it actually more efficient so people respond by demanding more services? Do large cities at the center of metros get stuck providing services that suburbs then free-ride on? Or is it more of a Mancur Olson thing where cities are good at generating and concentrating wealth and then interests arise to claim some of that wealth?
Tl;dr: “I think it’s basically the Olson-style point.”