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, Robert Blair
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 48, pp 730-742;

The connection of theory to practice in public administration represents a critical transfer of information between scholarship and application. This important relationship establishes a basis of exchange among those engaged in the field, a bond that may be most magnified and accessible at the local levels of government. This study examines the perspectives of practitioners and scholars toward improving the theory–practice exchange in local government management through a series of focus group interviews held at the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) annual conference over 4 years. The findings suggest that the scholar and practitioner communities agree on several approaches and principles that may contribute to enhancing the theory–practice exchange within the themes of research transaction, collaboration, and professionalism. These themes offer mutual contexts for theory–practice interactions, which may help to inform institutional integration and best practice models, and facilitate a functional coexistence of interdependence and improved exchangeability in local government management.
Published: 29 September 2017
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 48, pp 659-667;

Due to increased competition for scarce resources, scholars and practitioners have been devoting more attention to identifying the factors that drive private contributions to nonprofit organizations in recent years. This study aims to investigate whether capital structure decisions made by nonprofit managers have an impact on future contributions from individual donors. More specifically, it asks whether debt is associated with a reduction in future financial support. This study relies on data derived from the DataArts Cultural Data Profile to answer this question. It utilizes a log-log model where the dependent variable is defined as total private contributions in the current period. Results indicate that an increase in the interest expense to total expense ratio is associated with a decrease in future contributions. A nonprofit’s debt to assets ratio, however, does not have a statistically significant impact on future contributions.
, Toddi Steelman, Anne-Lise K. Velez, Zheng Yang
Published: 21 September 2017
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 48, pp 699-715;

There is significant debate about the appropriate governance structure in a disaster response. Complex disasters exhibit both networked and hierarchical characteristics. One challenge in the field of disaster management is how to structure a response that reconciles the need for centralized coordination among varied responders while retaining flexibility to mutually adjust operations to quickly changing conditions. A key question with both practical and theoretical relevance is, “are there patterns of relationships that are more robust, efficient and effective?” Missing from the current literature is empirical evidence and theory building concerning what actual network structures and characteristics might be associated with effective incident response to complex disasters. In this article, we collected network cognition data from 25 elite, Type 1 Incident Commanders to construct an ideal-type theoretical social network of an effective incident response network. We then analyzed this model to identify a set of propositions concerning the network structure and governance of effective incident response relative to four key network capabilities: (a) rapid adaptation in response to changing conditions, (b) management of distributed information, (c) bilateral coordination, and (d) emergent collective action. Our data suggest that the structure is neither highly integrated nor rigidly centralized. Rather, it is best characterized as a moderate core–periphery structure. Greater theoretical clarity concerning the capabilities associated with this structure is critical for advancing both research and practice in network governance of complex disasters.
Published: 14 September 2017
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 48, pp 631-643;

“Public use” is a constitutional limitation on the governmental authority to take private property using eminent domain. This study finds that it is irrelevant, an artifact of the federal constitution, in state reforms enacted in the last decade. Expansive language permitting economic development and private development have rendered public use to be merely symbolic. Forty-six states enacted takings reforms following Kelo v. New London, a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2005; approximately 80% of those states allow economic or private takings while also invoking the public use. This mixed-method analysis and normative theoretical grounding explain stark contradictions in the prevailing reforms nationwide, resulting in substantive implementation challenges that may be mitigated by sensitivity to regime values, one of which is property.
Published: 12 September 2017
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 48, pp 743-760;

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster became the worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. Many studies have examined the so-called “first-order causes” of the Fukushima disaster, such as economic interests and lax regulations. However, studies examining the disaster have paid little attention to how it escalated during the response phase, that is, “second-order causes.” This study examines the unresolved question using an analytic frame of accountability relationships. The results demonstrate how crisis management organizations of government faced cross-pressures within a web of accountability relationships while dealing with the disaster. In particular, these organizations’ responsiveness to hierarchical accountability had a negative effect on the political accountability relationships. It is the contribution of this research to specifically identify multiple and complex relationships between the types of accountability. Previous studies have mostly treated professional accountability as the single dependent variable. In contrast, this research argues that the other accountabilities—hierarchical and political—can be dependent variables as well. More importantly, inconsistent with the findings of previous studies, the economic pressure of political accountability had no effect on professional accountability relationships as a result of the heroic efforts of a nuclear plant manager.
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 48, pp 761-776;

Public organizations function in an environment of goal multiplicity and constantly juggle goal trade-off and synergy. However, little empirical research explores how the potential conflict between effectiveness and equity affects government agencies’ decision making. This study examines the extent to which public agencies are committed to regulatory effectiveness and social equity in environmental policy management, and the circumstances under which administrative agencies engage in goal trade-off and synergy. Analyzing data on the Clean Air Act in New York State, this study finds that although regulatory effectiveness is salient to government’s policy implementation, equity-oriented policy is likely to give rise to trade-off in this goal domain. The state agency manages environmental programs in an equitable way, and policy intervention has inconsistent effects on the equity goal achievement. The agency does, in some instances, synergize two goals in loci reflecting the convergence of task demands, but equity-oriented policy does not reinforce such behavioral pattern. Findings beg the question regarding how public policies and programs can be devised in ways that help avert goal trade-off and engender the maximum level of social outcomes.
Robert Maranto, B. Douglas Skelley
Published: 1 September 1992
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 22, pp 173-187;

Although many proponents of civil service reform question the principles of classical American public administration and specifically reject its neutral competence model of federal service, the principle of neutrality continues to be an important belief of federal career executives. This finding is based on an analysis of responses to a survey of 1,045 high-level (SES and GM-15) careerists and 242 political appointees from 15 federal organizations undertaken in November and December of 1987. As expected, Reagan political appointees profess slightly more support for the neutrality principle than their career subordinates. Still, careerist support for the principle is high and relatively uniform across organizations. The highest levels of the career bureaucracy, the Senior Executive Service, seem slightly more likely than their GM-15 subordinates to profess support for neutrality. Finally, support for this principle does not seem to improve career-noncareer relations, which instead appear to turn on the goal congruity of the organization and presidential policy. The attachment of career executives to the neutrality principle cannot be ignored by those who seek to reform the federal service.
Dvora Yanow
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 22, pp 89-109;

Metaphor analysis traditionally treats its subject as a figure of speech, that is, a purely literary device that can be replaced by literal language. However, recent work suggests that metaphors should be thought of as figures of thought strongly based in cognition; they thus imply action. This article examines a particular organizational metaphor that founders created and members used to form an organization. Tacitly known, the metaphor shaped building design; program offerings; management, staff, and client behaviors; and evaluation criteria. But it also fueled conflict with one subdivision of the organization whose professional practice was not in keeping with the actions the metaphor suggested. The case example, then, illustrates a metaphor that was both a help and a hindrence in shaping organizational action. Although metaphors may clarify and confuse at the same time, it is not clear that we can eliminate this pitfall by substituting literal language or other metaphors. This article argues that organizational metaphors are not merely decorations or unclear thought, but are cognitively grounded and cannot be replaced without changing the way people think about and understand the nature and mission of their organization. The article addresses the argument that metaphors should be explicit and suggests some concerns this position raises.
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 48, pp 584-595;

This article explores the strategic interactions between overlapping counties and school districts within the context of property tax policy. Overlapping local governments share either part or all of their property tax bases and therefore may take into account each other’s tax policies when deciding their annual property tax rate. A dynamic model is developed to analyze how property tax rate determination is influenced by the fiscal policies of both overlapping and neighboring local jurisdictions. The results suggest a short-term mimicking effect that is largely canceled out the following period. These findings help to develop a more complete understanding of how the broader set of environmental and institutional attributes of local governments influence their fiscal policies.
, Vincent Reitano
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 48, pp 550-564;

Over the past two decades, global institutions, including the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, have linked fiscal transparency to better governance, improved economic performance, and increased civic participation in government decision making. As a result, scholars and practitioners have attempted to systematically study the factors associated with a country’s fiscal transparency. At the international level, extant research employs cross-sectional analysis, which limits an understanding of how fiscal transparency evolves over time. We address this limitation by offering a cross-national longitudinal analysis of the factors associated with fiscal transparency as measured by the open budget index. Our study spans the years 2006 to 2012, using data on political, fiscal, information access, and economic conditions among 59 countries from nearly every part of the world. Using a first-difference panel regression and robust standard errors clustered by country, we found a positive association between economic recessions and fiscal transparency, indicating that fiscal crises may serve as opportunities for furthering transparency efforts. In addition, our study extends empirical documentation on the positive relationship between fiscal imbalance and fiscal transparency from the United States to the international arena, and provides support for a positive association between development aid and fiscal transparency. We also offer evidence for a negative association between democracy and fiscal transparency, which builds upon an emerging area of research suggesting selective release of government information by democratically elected officials.
Mette Kjærgaard Thomsen
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 47, pp 340-353;

Citizen coproduction, that is, citizens’ input to the provision of public services, holds great potential to improve services provided to citizens. It is therefore important to understand why some citizens are more likely to coproduce than others. Citizens’ skills and knowledge to coproduce are argued to be crucial for their contribution to coproduction, but research on this topic is sparse. Building on coproduction theory supplemented with theoretical insights from social psychology theory, the main contribution of this study is to develop theoretical arguments that describe how self-efficacy perception may moderate the influence of knowledge of how to coproduce on citizen coproduction undertaken by individual citizens. A large- N study in the field of education is used to examine this relation.
Published: 24 September 2015
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 47, pp 574-587;

Although we still lack objective data on treatment of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders (LGBTs) in the federal service, a huge recent survey of federal employees allows us to compare LGBT and heterosexual employees’ perceptions of the treatment they receive. LGBTs have several reasons for more negative perceptions of their treatment: 70 years of federal policies that explicitly discriminated against LGBTs in large and small ways; sizable minorities who still condemn homosexuality even as public attitudes are increasingly accepting; and continuing pay gaps between comparably educated and experienced gay, bisexual, and transgender (GBT) and heterosexual men in the general economy. We examine differences in satisfaction with pay, performance appraisals, promotions, raises, prohibited personnel practices, commitment to diversity, agency leadership, and relationships with supervisors and co-workers. LGBTs are less satisfied with their treatment across the board.
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 47, pp 279-299;

The research presented in this article is a product of my U.S. Supreme Court Fellowship in the Office of the Counselor to the Chief Justice. Founded in 1973 by former Chief Justice Warren Burger, the purpose of the Supreme Court Fellows program is to bring mid-career professionals interested in judicial branch governance to Washington to help advance the mission and goals of the judiciary. Working for an office that serves as an extension of the Chief Justice’s Chambers provided unparalleled access to learn first-hand (a) how the federal courts are managed and operated; (b) how the Chief Justice of the United States directs the managerial, budgetary, and policy priorities of the federal judiciary; and (c) how the Chief Justice and members of the Supreme Court cultivate relationships with members of the legislative and executive branches to secure the resources needed for the federal court system to carry out its constitutional obligations and judicial responsibilities. This article focuses specifically on sequestration, the most important policy and budgetary issue currently affecting the U.S. federal court system, and a topic that was a focal point during my Fellowship year. Currently, extreme budget cuts are prohibiting the federal courts and judicial branch agencies across the country from carrying out their responsibilities to the individuals they serve. If Congress continues enforcing the sequester, the third branch of government will no longer be able to contribute to the American constitutional order in an efficient, effective, and responsive manner. Consequently, the rule of law in the United States is in jeopardy.
, Patrick M. Madej
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 48, pp 716-729;

Citizen-assisted performance measurement (CAPM) was a hot topic just a decade or so ago, promoted by enthusiasts as a useful coupling of the performance measurement and citizen participation movements. The idea of engaging citizens in the design of local government performance measures retains some ongoing support today based mostly on normative assumptions and testimonials. A careful review of the premises of CAPM and empirical evidence from CAPM projects, however, reveals weaknesses in the premises and few surviving measures from CAPM projects. The authors’ findings support the view that citizen efforts would more beneficially be directed upstream of performance measurement, with citizens engaged as focus groups to offer views on their local government’s performance objectives and priorities rather than as designers of performance measures.
Chad B. Newswander, Lynita K. Newswander
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 45, pp 153-166;

When seeking to accomplish public ends in a prudent manner, administrators are occasionally put in precarious situations that require a degree of metis. Metis is a distinct form of knowledge characterized by a mixture of wile and wisdom and is valuable because it can offer viable alternatives for solving complex problems in contingent situations. Individualized problems often require administrators to forego routinized recommendations and pursue a path to prudence through shrewd thinking and action. However, if metis is not properly contained, it runs the risk of sinking under the weight of unscrupulous motivation and of negatively affecting the legitimacy of administrative action. What is important is that a crafty ethos is bound within a proper sphere. This is why a bounded metis informed by a modified version of intermediate scrutiny may provide a meaningful guide that legitimizes the ability of administrators to handle ambiguous situations in a prudent manner.
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 45, pp 182-200;

Conflict is part of every organization. Scholars have studied the effects of conflict on organization dynamics and their outputs. Literature suggests that not all conflict is detrimental for organizations—some conflict actually helps bolster and refresh organizations. One concern for organizations is the vertical strategic alignment of management strategies. Vertical cohesion or conflict impacts an organization’s ability to reach optimal performance. In the setting of English local governments, this study uses vertical strategic differences among two levels of management as the measure of conflict in organizations to examine, one, how it impacts organization performance, and two, if conflict has a nonlinear relationship with performance. Results indicate that conflict on single strategies has no bearing on organization performance. Total strategy or multidimensional conflict, however, negatively impacts performance. There is little support for a nonlinear relationship between conflict and performance. Further analyses indicate that the negative impact of conflict is amplified for smaller organizations.
, Francis Y. Owusu
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 45, pp 343-364;

The desire to increase domestic revenue mobilization has made tax reform a priority for governments in many developing countries. Addressing the tax problem, however, is often a complex process that involves reforming the tax system, as well as setting up effective administrative structures to administer that system. Many see the revenue authority (RA) model as the solution to these problems. Developing an RA model in Ghana began in the mid 1980s; it was not, however, fully operational and integrated until 2010. Using social learning theory, we argue that Ghana’s successful readoption of the RA model can be attributed to the lessons learned both in its own first attempts and from the successful tax reform experiences of other countries.
, , Nail Oztas, William E. Loges
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 36, pp 79-97;

This article applies network theory to consider the effects of neighborhood council reform on city governance in Los Angeles. The authors argue that neighborhood councils have the potential to change elite-dominated governance through several network effects: development of bridging social capital—network relationships that cross-cut traditional community cleavages, broadening of horizontal networks that improve information required for collective action, and creation of newties that elevate previously peripheral groups in the system of political communication. Based on field research and a network survey of neighborhood council board members, the authors find that although bonding ties help facilitate collective action, they also maintain social stratification because they develop between similar groups and involve status seeking. The development of weaker bridging ties among more diverse groups appears to promote mobilization through information sharing. Thus, bonding and bridging ties appear to play complementary roles in promoting information dissemination and mobilization among neighborhood councils.
Nestar Russell, Robert Gregory
Published: 1 December 2005
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 35, pp 327-349;

This article interprets Stanley Milgram's laboratory experiments on obedience, and their significance in understanding the Holocaust and the ways by which governmental systems enable people to do things they would otherwise find undoable. Milgram tended to conflate “proximity”—between participants and learners—and sensory perception, and overlooked the difference between physical and emotional distance. Neither Milgram nor his commentators have fully recognized the importance of the shock generator in these experiments. Milgram's paradigm shows why the Nazis' search for increasingly “productive” killing means, which minimized levels of sensory perception among immediate perpetrators, was a necessary (but not a sufficient) condition of the Holocaust. Milgram's key concept of “the agentic state” is reinterpreted as an act of moral choice, rather than as a psychological state of mind. An understanding of the conditional nature of legal-rational (bureaucratic) authority is essential if ways are to be found of resolving “the paradox of modernity.”
DeLysa Burnier
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 20, pp 130-132;

Robert D. Herman, Richard D. Heimovics
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 20, pp 107-124;

The increasing recognition of the public nature of nonprofit organizations and the changing relationships between governments and nonprofit organizations provide the context for, and underline the importance of, understanding effective executive leadership in such organizations. A study of 50 nonprofit organization chief executives revealed that reputationally effective executives engaged in more reported leadership behaviors in relationship to their boards of directors than executives not so reputed. No difference was found in reported leadership behaviors directed at staff. The results suggest that “board-regarding behaviors” are an important and distinct cluster of skills for effective leadership by nonprofit chief executives. The results are consistent with a resource-dependence perspective, and the authors argue that effective executives work with and through their boards in order to affect the constraints and dependencies in the nonprofit organization's environment.
Richard Stillman
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 20, pp 125-127;

Norma M. Riccucci
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 20, pp 95-106;

A priority in American domestic policy over the past few years has been to win the battle against drug use in our society. The frenzy surrounding this country's war on drugs, however, inevitably begs the question, Is the government, either as an employer or regulator of private sector employment, within legal and constitutional bounds when it requires employees to undergo drug testing? This question is examined through an analysis of the case law to date. The article closes with forecasted legal trends in drug testing and the implications for public as well as private sector employers.
James E. Skok
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 20, pp 77-93;

Strategic scenarios, concepts that assist business managers in developing market interventions, represent the action component of strategic management. In some fields of public policy (especially national defense and electoral politics) scenarios have been discussed for years. For the most part, however, a theory of action involving specific scenarios has not been given attention by scholars of public policy and administration. In this article, the literature of these fields, along with that of business strategy, is reviewed and synthesized for the purpose of beginning the process of developing a theory of action for managers of public policy. Two concepts in particular—the agency power matrix and the change scenario—are presented as necessary components of this theory. When completed, the theory of strategic action should be viewed as an integral part of the literature of strategic management.
Ronald J. Oakerson, Roger B. Parks
Published: 1 December 1989
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 19, pp 279-294;

Metropolitan governance in most metropolitan areas of the United States can best be understood by reference to the concept of a "local government constitution." A local government constitution is framed by choices made at two levels: 1) an enabling level composed of state constitutional and statutory provisions that local citizens and public officials may use to create and modify local governments, and 2) a chartering level that determines the specific charter of a local government through citizen action. The rules of a local government constitution include those of association, boundary adjustment, fiscal rules, and rules governing interjurisdictional arrangements. Citizens and their officials can and do use these constitutional rules to construct over time complex local public economies that tend to exhibit strong patterns of citizen governance. Recognition of these phenomena yields a different view of local governments from that of "creatures of the state," as articulated by Judge John Dillon in his 1868 decisions.
ShinWoo Lee
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 48, pp 522-534;

Contrary to received wisdom, could turnover actually be good for an organization? Traditional research on turnover in the public management field treats turnover as a dependent variable, emphasizing its negative role on organizational performance without sufficient theoretical or empirical support. With an emphasis on the type of employee turnover as a situational factor, this research establishes the hypothesized relationships between different employee turnovers—employee transfers, quits, and involuntary turnover—and organizational performance, and tests them using panel data from 2010 to 2014 in agencies of the U.S. federal government. Empirical results challenge the accepted belief about the harmful effects of turnover on organizational performance: Turnover can be beneficial for an organization. The results confirm the relationship differs across the type of turnover involved: Employee transfers have an inverted U-shaped relationship with organizational performance, and involuntary turnovers have a linear and positive relationship with organizational performance. Given the use of a perceptual measure of organizational performance by remaining employees, these results imply that a low-to-moderate level of employee transfers is likely to increase organizational performance and that involuntary turnovers—an elimination of employees who presented poor performance or were involved in misconducts—contribute to improving organizational performance.
, Hyunhoe Bae,
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 47, pp 599-614;

Over the past few decades, research on policy adoption and diffusion has grown rapidly. Despite the relatively large number of publications, however, little attention has been paid to the important question of why a policy is differently implemented or diffused across governments. To answer this question and improve our understanding of local policy choice beyond widely cited neighboring influences, we closely examine the roles of three main policy actors—internal actors, external actors, and go-betweens—in the local policy diffusion process, drawing particularly upon property tax reassessment scenarios. In addition, we focus on nested institutional arrangements, including form of government and type of property tax assessor, that affect the policy decisions of internal actors. Using data on cities and towns in New York State for 1993-2010, we estimate event history models of property tax reassessment activities. Our findings reveal that regional interactions with neighbors that have already adopted the policy and top-down go-betweens through positive inducements can help facilitate property tax reassessment across municipalities. Reformed municipal governments in the council-manager form, along with appointed assessors, are also most likely to adopt reassessment policy frequently, compared with other institutional arrangements. Overall, this study advances the policy diffusion literature by exploring the roles of different influences through a more detailed, broader approach.
Charles J. Fox
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 22, pp 1-17;

This paper analyzes use of the term "professionalism" in public administration by language usage analysis—an interpretive methodology. It begins by arguing against static interpretation of professionalism implied by the sociological model. It then explores various meanings of professionalism by using a series of antinomies: professional-laity, professional-amateur, achievement-ascription, and professionals as a new class in opposition to other classes. Each antinomy reveals meanings of professionalism that public administrators should avoid or embrace in their quest to make public administration a widely recognized profession. Concluding remarks suggest a particular definition of professionalism appropriate to public administration.
Sung Min Park, Maria Ernita Joaquin, Kyoung Ryoul Min, Reginald G. Ugaddan
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 48, pp 506-521;

With heightened bureaucratic bashing and the planned reorganization of the U.S. federal bureaucracy, hiring is going to be difficult, but what could make those already in the service satisfied and willing to stay in their jobs? How could flexible work systems have an impact on worker job satisfaction and turnover intention? Using hierarchical linear modeling, we explore the impact of alternative work systems on employee job satisfaction and turnover intention in the context of values underlying managerial reforms. Flexible work systems are found to have a positive impact moderated by the kind of values promoted by particular reforms. A discussion on the main findings, research, and practical implications for public human resource management theory and practice is provided.
Mary Grisez Kweit, Robert W. Kweit
Published: 1 December 2004
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 34, pp 354-373;

In April 1997, Grand Forks, North Dakota, and East Grand Forks, Minnesota, experienced a disastrous flood. Both cities have been textbook examples of success according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. They have an updated infrastructure, paid for largely by the federal government. Their downtowns are on the road to recovery with new construction and businesses. The paths of the two cities have diverged in the social and political aftermath of the flood. East Grand Forks, following consultant suggestions, instituted extensive citizen participation initiatives. East Grand Forks has experienced political stability and citizen satisfaction. Grand Forks relied primarily on bureaucratic guidance to react to the disaster. Grand Forks has experienced changes in government structure, turnover of elected and appointed officials, and much less positive citizen evaluation. This study examines the effect of perceptions of citizen participation on the citizens’ evaluation of the success of the recovery.
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 48, pp 644-658;

Workplace giving campaigns, like the Combined Federal Campaign, have increased in participation and prominence in recent years. Organizations across all sectors of society frequently encourage employees to voluntarily donate either directly or through payroll deduction. In the nascent research on workplace giving, there has been relatively little focus on how employee attributes, especially motivational and organizational commitment traits, might be related to voluntary participation in workplace giving campaigns. In our article, we explore the role of these factors in an employee’s decision to participate in workplace giving campaigns. Using data from a large, public university, we examine two distinct aspects of participation: (a) the decision to participate in a workplace giving campaign and (b) how much those who participated chose to give. Our analyses demonstrate that these decisions reflect two motivational processes that must be considered in examining the determinants of individual workplace giving behavior. Answering these questions will help deepen our understanding of employee workplace giving in its increasing prominence as a tool of social partnership.
Antonio M. López-Hernández, , , Emilio J. de la Higuera-Molina
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 48, pp 565-583;

Various studies have analyzed the relationship between fiscal stress and contracting out, but have failed to achieve conclusive results. In this article, we take a broad view of fiscal stress, addressed in terms of financial condition and studied over a lengthy period (2000-2010). The relationship between fiscal stress and contracting out is studied using a dynamic model, based on survival analysis, a methodology that enables us to take into account the effect of time on this relationship. As this study period includes the years of the Great Recession (2008-2010), we also highlight the impact of this event on the fiscal stress–contracting out relation. The results obtained suggest that taking into account the passage of time and conducting a long-term assessment of financial condition enable a more precise understanding of this relation. We also find that the Great Recession reduced the probability of local governments’ contracting out public services.
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 48, pp 291-300;

Literature on punctuated equilibrium theory has aimed to explain the causes of policy punctuations. What remain unknown are the consequences of those punctuations (and other size changes) for organizations. Specifically, this study analyzes how budgetary changes affect organizational performance. While the connection between financial resources and organization outcomes has been examined before, the analyses here expand upon previous work by considering the full spectrum of budgetary changes from negative punctuations to positive punctuations. This topic is important given today’s fiscal uncertainty. For managers and bureaucrats, they are expected to stabilize organization outputs no matter what policy inputs are established in the organization. At times, inputs can be erratic and unstable—successful organizations can find a way to maintain performance despite these obstacles. In the context of school districts, this study examines the performance consequences (measured by annual changes in the statewide standardized test pass rate) of different size alterations in instructional expenditures. Results indicate that, generally, organizations are able to dampen the impact of negative financial changes and improve upon budgetary increases in the translation to outcomes.
The American Review of Public Administration, Volume 48, pp 596-609;

With the recent growth in interlocal contracts for municipal service delivery, insufficient attention has been given to city governments that choose to terminate interlocal contracts. The termination of interlocal contracts deserves scrutiny because theory points to multiple possible explanations for service change. This research examines the termination of interlocal contracts for police service delivery by California cities between 2001 and 2010. Public documents from the nine cities that terminated interlocal contracts are analyzed to assess rationale for termination. The stated reasons for termination include problems related to community responsiveness, the contract relationship, local control, service cost, service levels, and staffing. Grounded theory is advanced through analysis of the nine cities. The research refines our understanding of how cities weigh the costs and benefits of in-house production versus production through interlocal contract. While contract failure is evident in some cities, termination may also be explained as a process of vertical integration and service expansion. The research refines theories about local government service delivery and informs the practice of interlocal contract management.
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