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When Government Fails
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When Government Fails: The Orange County Bankruptcy

Mark Baldassare


When Orange County, California, filed for Chapter 9 protection on December 6, 1994, it became the largest municipality in United States history to declare bankruptcy. Providing a comprehensive analysis of this momentous fiscal crisis, the book uncovers the many twists and turns from the dark days in December 1994 to the financial recovery of June 1996. Utilizing a wealth of primary materials from the county government and Merrill Lynch, as well as interviews with key officials and players in this drama, it untangles the causes of this $1.64 billion fiasco. It identifies three factors critical ... More

Keywords: Orange County, California, Chapter 9 protection, bankruptcy, Merrill Lynch, political fragmentation, fiscal conservatism, financial austerity, local government reforms, fiscal recovery

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 1998 Print ISBN-13: 9780520214859
Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012 DOI:10.1525/california/9780520214859.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Mark Baldassare, author