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The Networks and Governance Lab (NGL) works to discover how humans and organizations interact to address policy problems at a local and global scale. Blending theories and frameworks from political science, public administration, economics, and public policy with inferential methods from network science, the NGL seeks to model and understand how network structure, composition, and processes shape our collective capacity to solve public problems. Research in the lab spans the study of informal human networks within public organizations and local public service delivery networks to the formation of global city networks to confront wicked problems.

The Networks and Governance Lab at the University of Illinois at Chicago is housed in the Public Administration Department in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs. The Lab is home is to doctoral students, faculty, and outside scholars who view the challenges of our interdependent physical, technical, and social world through a network lens. Prospective PhD students interested in working with the lab should contact one of the co-directors. We also welcome visiting scholars and other faculty to connect with the NGL on projects of mutual interest.

Research Spotlight

Victor Hugg is a doctoral student in the Department of Public Administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Public Service – Function Types and Interlocal Agreement Network Structure: A Longitudinal Study of Iowa

Abstract: Interlocal service delivery networks have become a prominent subject within the urban governance literature, with significant scholarly attention being focused on the political, legal, and demographic characteristics that influence an organization’s decision to join a collaboration network. However, despite being a theoretically significant factor, few analyses have examined the role that service-function type plays in shaping these networks. This research note replicates and extends previous tests of the hypothesized relationship between service-function type and network structure by relying on a comprehensive 25-year data set of interlocal agreements from the state of Iowa. Using hierarchical linear modeling, the positive relationship between networks of system maintenance service-functions and network centralization is confirmed after controlling for the significant moderating effect of time