Date of Award

Winter 2021

Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)


Public Policy and Administration

Committee Chairperson

Jeremy N. Phillips, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Amanda M. Olejarski, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Arley Styer, M.S.S., M.L.S.P.


This research provides empirical evidence of the efficacy of Brown’s Ten Point Test. It implements this fiscal assessment tool to analyze the fiscal health of local governments. It utilizes Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Statewide Municipal Annual Financial Reports, from 2006 through 2018 to examine the fiscal condition of a range of 2,483 – 2,536 Pennsylvania municipalities to help understand the following research questions:

1. How effective is the Ten Point Test?

2. What was the fiscal status of the Pennsylvania municipalities before the Great Recession (2008)?

3. What was the fiscal status of the Pennsylvania municipalities after the Great Recession?

4. What is the financial criteria that determines poor fiscal health?

Through these questions, this research helps understand how the Ten Point Test is applied in municipalities in a commonwealth such as Pennsylvania, its reliability, and ability to identify negative fiscal health. As such, this research contributes to the current gap in empirical evidence of a prominent tool referenced in literature – Brown’s Ten Point Test. Although Brown’s Ten Point Test is highly regarded as a quick and easy to use tool for local governments, current research lacks empirical evidence indicating the validity of the test. The section that follows explains in detail how the research questions posed here provide empirical evidence in support of Brown’s Ten Point Test. The key findings support the reliability of the Ten Point Test in assessing fiscal health.