First Advisor

Dennis L. West

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies and Planning




Finance, Public housing -- Costa Rica -- San Jose, Public housing -- El Salvador -- San Salvador, Public Finance -- Costa Rica -- San Jose



Physical Description

2, xii, 371 leaves: ill. 28 cm.


The scholarly tradition in urban policy analysis holds that a variety of economic, social and political background factors influence the nature and amount of output by the policymaking system. Here a number of these factors such as elections and parties, structure of the national economy and age and sex composition of the population are examined to determine their effect on public housing and local government revenue policy in two Central American urban centers. San Jose, Costa Rica and San Salvador, El Salvador were chosen for the study because they are in the same size range, both are capital (and primate) cities and both have been growing rapidly in recent years. Moreover, the cities exist in radically different sociopolitical milieux. With such characteristics as size and primacy held constant, it was felt that variations in policy output could be linked to and at least partially explained by the political, social and economic differences. For a variety of systemic and historical reasons, urban public housing is provided in both countries by autonomous agencies of the national governments. Their operational policies and programs are compared. Two major activities in the field of municipal revenue are traced through the policymaking process from their genesis: a successful effort to install parking meters in San Jose, and an unsuccessful attempt at overall tax reform in San Salvador. In neither policy area, public housing nor municipal revenue, was the original hypothesis sustained. No important differences in policy output between San Jose and San Salvador could be identified. Consequently, there were no variations to be explained by the diversity in social, economic and political background factors. Nonetheless, these factors are considered in detail, along with the nature of the policymaking process in the two cities. Finally, some suggestions are offered as to why San Jose and San Salvador exhibit these similarities in policy product in spite of their many social, political and economic dissimilarities.


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Portland State University. School of Urban Affairs.

Persistent Identifier