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USC Price Houston Flournoy Professor of State Government presents research The Political Economy of Municipal Coproduction: Fire and Police in California. Findings suggest that institutional characteristics, including organizational form, political culture, and competing service provision arrangements, influence coproduction in core municipal services.
Dr. Juliet Musso holds the Houston Flournoy Professor of State Government at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. She has expertise in federalism and urban political economy, with specific research interests in intergovernmental fiscal policy, state and local institutional reform, and collaborative governance. She has published on state budgeting and intergovernmental finance, the political economy of municipal incorporation, and neighborhood governance in the City of Los Angeles. Other current research topics include local government use of advanced telecommunications technologies and intergovernmental fiscal capacity in the Southern California region.
The Political Economy of Municipal Coproduction: Fire and Police in California
by Juliet Musso, Matt Young, and Michael Thom
A number of public management studies argue that partnering with volunteers to “coproduce” services can improve governance by reducing service costs; assisting with demand management; and improving service response. Yet there are potentially high transactions costs associated with managing volunteers, suggesting that political, fiscal, and institutional factors may impede or facilitate this approach to provision. This study explores the political economy of coproduction in municipal policing and fire service provision in California. It frames coproduction as a two-stage institutional process in which the first stage involves the choice to develop a volunteer program, and the second stage determines the relative reliance on volunteers relative to paid employees. The paper finds that volunteers are significantly more likely to be utilized in larger, more politically conservative cities, and in general law cities that incorporated prior to the advent of municipal contracting in California. Conditioned upon utilization, the relative reliance on volunteer employees is higher in general law cities that are smaller, more conservative politically, and that have proportionally fewer Hispanic residents. These findings suggest that institutional characteristics, including organizational form, political culture, and competing service provision arrangements, influence coproduction in core municipal services.
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