NGL Publications and Working Papers

Handbook of collaborative public

Local Governments and Shared Services: Insights on Institutional Mechanisms, Partners, and Purpose
book chapter by Jun Li, José Sánchez, Jered B. Carr, Michael D. Siciliano

Abstract: Local governments seek collaboration mechanisms to address increasingly constrained fiscal environments characterized by shrinking revenues and growing demand for services. Though research on interorganizational networks has increased rapidly in the past decade, critical gaps in our understanding of local public service networks remain. This study looks to address existing gaps by answering three critical questions: 1) How are actors connected with each other in these networks? 2) Who do they choose to partner with? and 3) What are the specific and shared objectives they pursue? To answer these questions, we conduct a content analysis of a random sample of 500 interlocal and inter-sector agreements from 10 policy areas over a 10-year period. The results of the content analysis revealed three important findings. First, the most common institutional forms to collaborate are service contracts, joint operations, and new joint entities, while the least common institutional mechanism is joint facilities. Second, city and county, general- and special-purpose government, and cross-sector collaborations are the most frequent groupings found across the service areas. However, collaborations between cities are rare in our sample. Finally, each agreement was coded based on its objective. We find that agreements focus more on the expansion of public access to the service rather than increased efficiency or effectiveness. Based on our findings, we offer several avenues for future research.

Presentation Slides from ASPA 2021

public administration review

Analyzing the Effectiveness of Networks for Addressing Public Problems: Evidence from a Longitudinal Study
by Michael D. Siciliano, Jered B. Carr and Victor G. Hugg

While scholars and practitioners frequently laud the potential of networks to address complex policy problems, empirical evidence of the effectiveness of networks is scarce. This study examines how changes in network structure (centralization and transitivity), network composition (sector diversity and geographic range), and tie properties (stability and strength) influence community level outcomes. Relying on a statutory requirement in the state of Iowa requiring local governments to file all instances of intergovernmental and intersectoral collaboration, we measure collaboration networks in 81 counties over 17 years in the areas of crime and economic development. Using fixed effects models, we examine how changes in the structure and composition of these county‐level networks affect substantive policy outcomes. Our findings indicate that network properties matter, but that the specific properties may be context dependent. We find network centralization and stability are stronger predictors of crime while network composition is more strongly associated with economic development.

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Mechanisms of Network Formation in the Public Sector: A Systematic Review of the Literature by Michael D Siciliano, Weijie Wang, Alejandra Medina

Abstract: This article provides a systematic review of the network formation literature in the public sector. In particular, we code and categorize the theoretical mechanisms used in empirical network research to motivate collaboration and tie formation. Based on a review of the 107 articles on network formation found in 40 journals of public administration and policy from 1998 to 2019, we identify 15 distinct theoretical categories. For each category, we describe the theory, highlight its use in the literature, and identify limitations and concerns with current applications. Overall, we find that most studies rely on a similar set of general theories of network formation. More importantly, we find that most theoretical mechanisms are not well specified, and empirical tests are often unable to directly assess the specific underlying mechanism. The results of our review highlight the need for our field to embrace experimental designs, develop panel network datasets, and engage in more network-level research.

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

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.

Towards a Map of Monitoring Mechanisms: The Role of Institutions and Activities in Monitoring Cross-Sector Service Delivery
Authors: Sam Kurtz, Saman Shafiq, and Kate Albrecht

ASPA 2021 Presentation Slides

Toward a Unified Approach to Studying the Role of Nonprofits in Public Service Delivery

  • 2020 ARNOVA TIBS (Theories, Issues, and Boundaries) Best Paper Award
  • Authors: Saman Shafiq, Kate Albrecht, and Kelly LeRoux

Local Governments and Shared Services: Insights on Institutional Mechanisms, Partners, and Purpose
Authors: Jun Li, Jose Sanchez, Michael Siciliano, and Jered Carr

Institutions of a Kind: Determinants of Monitoring Mechanisms for Nonprofit Service Delivery
Authors: Sam Kurtz, Saman Shafiq, and Kate Albrecht

Assessing the Risk Hypothesis: How Do Production Characteristics, Partners, and Political Interest Shape Network Structure?
Authors: Michael Siciliano, Jered Carr, and Sam Kurtz

PMRC 2021 Video Presentation
PMRC Presentation Slides

A Longitudinal Analysis of Fiscal Stress and Local Government Collaboration
Authors: Jose Sanchez, Jun Li, Aamer Shaheen Ranjha, and Michael Siciliano

PMRC 2021 Video Presentation

Rain or Shine: How Large-Scale Disasters Affect the Evolution of Emergency Management Networks Across Time. A Quasi-Experimental Design

Authors: Alejandra Medina and Michael Siciliano

PMRC 2021 Video Presentation
PMRC Presentation Slides