Sayre and Kaufman Revisited: New York City Government Since 1965

Donald H. Haider*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In 1965, Sayre and Kaufman concluded their introduction to Governing New York City with the following question: What other large American city is as democratically and as well-governed? This article seeks to explain the apparent failure of the government of New York City in the post-1965 period and suggests that the pluralists model of city government identified by Sayre and Kaufman failed due to the highly disaggregative fashion in which the primary resources of government-financial, manpower, and legal- were disposed in the post-1965 period. The article further suggests that, following the onset of the city's fiscal crisis in 1975, a transformation in the political process of the city from an extremely fragmented, pluralistic structure to a coalition of key groups united by a common aversion to bankruptcy may have begun. The author concludes with a critique of pluralism, a challenge to its critics, and questions whether a previous decade of Who Governs Research has much relevance to what has transpired in New York City.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-145
Number of pages23
JournalUrban Affairs Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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