'The Erosion of Trust During a Global Pandemic and How Public Administrators Should Counter It,'A Deslatte - American Review of Public Administration, 2020. This article argues that public administrators must advance a more equity-based assessment of vulnerabilities in American communities and more risk-based communication strategies. It provides an overview of partisan motivated reasoning, how this has influenced the response to the coronavirus pandemic. Experimental evidence then demonstrates how the framing of the pandemic can influence trust in various public messengers. The coronavirus pandemic is merely one of the many exigent threats humanity faces today. Public administrators are the planners, engineers, analysts, auditors, lawyers, and managers on the front lines of these existential crises. It is their job to sift through the information environment and—however boundedly—tackle problems. For the sake of the American democracy, public administrators need to regain the people’s trust. They could start by leveling with them about the challenges ahead.
'Sustainability Synergies or Silos? The Opportunity Costs of Local Government Organizational Capabilities.' A Deslatte & E. Stokan - Public Administration Review, 2020. Public managers serve many sovereigns, work within fiscal constraints, and face competing demands for finite resources. This article applies a strategic management lens to local government sustainability capabilities to examine the conditions under which local governments diversify into new areas of service delivery and when they do not. Building on recent efforts to apply resource‐based theories to the public sector, the authors distinguish between more and less fungible capabilities and posit that local government officials make such commitments to enhance the competitiveness of their communities. Two surveys of U.S. cities provide evidence that governments that rely on tax incentive‐based development approaches may struggle to make sustainable development gains. Such cities are more likely to devote resources disproportionately to delivering benefits to firms at the risk of incurring increasing opportunity costs over time. Prior commitments to traditional, firm‐based economic development capabilities appear to inhibit their ability to pursue broader sustainability policies. However, economic development strategic planning can also positively influence some investments in greenhouse gas reduction efforts. Moreover, cities facing more competition for development are more likely to integrate planning and performance measurement to assess their sustainability commitments.
'Performance, Satisfaction, or Loss Aversion? A Meso–Micro Assessment of Local Commitments to Sustainability Programs.' A Deslatte, W Swann & R Feiock - Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 2020. A normative assumption of government reform efforts such as New Public Management is that fostering a more innovative, proactive, and risk-taking organizational culture—developing what has been described as an “entrepreneurial orientation” (EO)—improves performance. But in arenas like urban sustainability, performance can be an ambiguous, multifaceted concept. Managers’ assessments of their own nimbleness, innovative thinking, and risk culture are also likely to influence how they interpret the risk-reward balance of opportunities to enhance organizational performance. This study examines how meso-level organizational decisions impact managers’ individual risk-assessments of sustainability initiatives. We do so through a combination of Bayesian structural equation modeling of US local government survey data collected over two time periods, and an artifactual survey experiment with empaneled local government employees. This multimethod design allows us to examine the role of organizational performance and EO—meso-level learning heuristics—in shaping the micro-foundations of managerial risk assessment. The organization-level observational results indicate that local governments engage in risk-seeking behavior in order to minimize their potential for losses of prior effort. Experimental results confirm local government administrators are loss-averse when asked to evaluate the merits of initiating a hypothetical sustainability program.
"How Can Local Governments Address Pandemic Inequities?" A. Deslatte, M. Hatch & E. Stokan - Public Administration Review, 2020. COVID‐19 is exposing a nexus between communities disproportionately suffering from underlying health conditions, policy‐reinforced disparities, and susceptibility to the disease. As the virus spreads, policy responses will need to shift from focusing on surveillance and mitigation to recovery and prevention. Local governments, with their histories of mutual aid and familiarity with local communities, are capable of meeting these challenges. However, funding must flow in a flexible enough fashion for local governments to tailor their efforts to preserve vital services and rebuild local economies. We argue in this article that the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) programs are mechanisms for how to provide funds in a manner adaptable to local context while also focusing on increasing social equity. Administrators must emphasize the fourth pillar of public administration ‐‐ social equity ‐‐ in framing government responses to the pandemic.
'To Shop or Shelter? Issue Framing Effects and Social-Distancing Preferences in the COVID-19 Pandemic.'A. Deslatte - Journal of Behavioral Public Administration, 2020. As a result of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19), U.S. federal, state, and local governmental officials have struggled to coordinate consistent, coherent messaging for citizens to social-distance. The pandemic presents an important context for examining alternative communication frames employed by governments. This study presents results from an artefactual survey experiment in which public-health information regarding COVID-19 was transmitted to a panel of U.S. adult respondents via alternative issue frames and messengers. The findings highlight the importance of delivering consistent messages to the public. Public-health frames positively influence citizen preferences for avoiding unnecessary travel. Conversely, economic frames appear to have the opposite effect, increasing the preference to make unnecessary trips to shop. However, federal messengers appear to strengthen the framing effect relative to expert messengers.
'Exploring the Trade-Offs Local Governments Make in the Pursuit of Economic Growth and Equity.'E. Stokan, A Deslatte & Megan E. Hatch - Urban Affairs Review, 2020. Economic development at the municipal level often necessitates that local governments make trade-offs between firm- and locality-based strategies. In recent decades, economic development researchers have described these efforts over time as exhibiting certain patterns and metaphors: as a series of waves, as embodying a type of lock-in effect, and as a policy layering process; however, the mechanisms behind these patterns remain unclear. This article draws upon 30 years of economic development policy decision making across the United States to understand what leads local governments to prioritize growth- or equity-oriented policies. We find that equity-enhancing economic development policies are more likely when local governments face less competitive pressure, have greater resource capacities, and experience greater intergovernmental involvement in the economic development planning process. Leveraging these factors can aid governments as they struggle to navigate a more sustainable path toward growth and equity.
'Positivity and Negativity Dominance in Citizen Assessments of Intergovernmental Sustainability Performance.' A. Deslatte. - Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 2020. Understanding how the public assesses the performance of complex, intergovernmental efforts such as sustainability is critical for understanding both managerial decision-making and institutional design. Drawing from the performance and federalism literature, this study investigates the role that negativity bias play in citizen assessments of intergovernmental performance. In three survey experiments, this study exploits a well-known intergovernmental initiative to explore the effects of episodic performance information on citizen support for varying sustainability-related activities. Two research questions are addressed. First, does the positive or negative valence of citizen performance assessments vary with the type and scope of activity? Second, does positive or negative performance information tend to dominate in more realistic scenarios in which both types of stimuli interact? The findings indicate that both negativity and positivity biases affect support for governmental involvement. However, these effects are context-specific, depending on the type of activity local governments undertook. Negativity bias is stronger when the experiment details hypothetical benefits delivered to low-income housing residents. The evidence also suggests partisan cues can overwhelm otherwise positive views of performance, a concept described in the psychology literature as negativity dominance.
'Beyond Borders: Governmental Fragmentation and the Political Market for Economic Development Policies in American Cities.'E. Stokan, A. Deslatte - State & Local Government Review, 2019. Political fragmentation has been conceptualized as a phenomenon which increases competition for mobile citizens and jobs between local governments within the same region. However, the empirical basis for this nexus between governmental fragmentation and increased competition for development is surprisingly lacking. Utilizing a newly constructed database that matches political fragmentation indices (horizontal, vertical, and bordered) to a nationwide survey of economic development officials in 2014, we begin to fill this gap by analyzing the influence fragmentation has on the use of tax incentives, regulatory flexibility, and community development tools in U.S. cities. Applying the political market framework and a Bayesian inferential approach, we find that the proliferation of local governments increases incentive use. However, more specialized governance increases the probability of using community development activities.
'Towards urban water sustainability: Analyzing management transitions in Miami, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.'M. Garcia, E. Koebele, A. Deslatte, K. Ernst, K. Manago, G. Treuer. - Global Environmental Change, 2019. As climate change challenges the sustainability of existing water supplies, many cities must transition toward more sustainable water management practices to meet demand. However, scholarly knowledge of the factors that drive such transitions is lacking, in part due to the dearth of comparative analyses in the existing transitions literature. This study seeks to identify common factors associated with transitions toward sustainability in urban water systems by comparing transitions in three cases: Miami, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. For each case, we develop a data-driven narrative that integrates case-specific contextual data with standardized, longitudinal metrics of exposures theorized to drive transition. We then compare transitions across cases, focusing on periods of accelerated change (PoACs), to decouple generic factors associated with transition from those unique to individual case contexts. From this, we develop four propositions about transitions toward sustainable urban water management. We find that concurrent exposure to water stress and heightened public attention increases the probability of a PoAC (1), while other factors commonly expected to drive transition (e.g. financial stress) are unrelated (2). Moreover, the timing of exposure alignment (3) and the relationship between exposures and transition (4) may vary according to elements of the system’s unique context, including the institutional and infrastructure design and hydro-climatic setting. These propositions, as well as the methodology used to derive them, provide a new model for future research on how cities respond to climate-driven water challenges.
'Elucidating the Linkages Between Entrepreneurial Orientation and Local Government Sustainability Performance.' A. Deslatte, W. Swann. - The American Review of Public Administration, 2019. Linking strategic management to performance has been called essential for public managers to confront pernicious environmental and community problems in the 21st century. This article examines the role that an organization’s entrepreneurial orientation (EO) plays in the linkages between organizational capacities, strategies, and perceived performance. An EO is considered a key driver of a public organization’s willingness to engage in risk taking, innovation, and proactivity aimed at enhancing organizational routines, decision-making, and performance. Scholars have provided empirical guidance for the antecedents and consequences of entrepreneurialism in bureaucracy, yet we know little systematically about how EO links to strategies that may affect performance in the public sector. To investigate, we employ a mixed methods design using a nationwide survey of U.S. local governments and interviews with local government managers about their experiences in sustainability programs. Quantitatively, we find evidence for environmental factors of political and administrative capacities positively influencing EO, and that strategic activities of performance information use, venturing, and interorganizational collaboration mediate the relation between EO and perceived sustainability performance. Interviews corroborate these findings and illuminate how local government managers proactively engage stakeholders, consider risk taking, build capacity, and pursue innovation in sustainability.
'Institutional Analysis with the Institutional Grammar.' S. Siddiki, T. Heikkila, C. M. Weible, R. Pacheco‐Vega, D. Carter, C. Curley, A. Deslatte, A. Bennett. - Policy Studies Journal, 2019. Institutions are strategies, norms, and rules embodied in public policies and / or social conventions. They reflect and establish expectations about who can do what, where, and how, and are often employed for resolving collective action dilemmas and other kinds of governance challenges. Given their salience, social science scholars have dedicated substantial effort to developing analytical approaches for understanding the design, function, and performance of institutions. Particularly valuable are approaches that generalize across institutional types and are versatile enough to be paired with multiple concepts, theories, and methods. This paper focuses on one such approach, called the Institutional Grammar. The Institutional Grammar is an approach for assessing the structure and content of institutions. It received limited attention immediately following its introduction. In recent years, however, numerous journal articles have been published that highlight the promise of the Institutional Grammar for supporting rigorous analyzes of institutional design and associated outcomes within the context of various theoretical, conceptual, and methodological approaches. This article (i) reintroduces parts of the Institutional Grammar; (ii) summarizes the theoretical, methodological, and empirical foci of all journal articles published to date that address it; and (iii) presents an agenda for advancing the study of institutions using the Institutional Grammar. 'Revisiting Bureaucratic Entrepreneurialism in the Age of Urban Austerity: Framing Issues, Taking Risks, and Building Collaborative Capacity.' A. Deslatte - In: Iftikhar M., Justice J., Audretsch D. (eds) Urban Studies and Entrepreneurship. The Urban Book Series. Springer, 2019. More than two decades ago, Schneider et al. (2011) posited that city mayors and managers were emerging as “public entrepreneurs,” helping to advance dynamic policy change in the face of growing external environmental challenges. Their focus on municipal executive entrepreneurship coincided with a larger effort to develop a normative theory of entrepreneurial public management in democratic governance. This article revisits the thesis posited by Teske and Schneider (1994, 331) that public entrepreneurs emerge to “help propel dynamic policy change in their community,” and applies it in a contemporary urban governance context. The goal is to better understand how public organizations cultivate and utilize an Entrepreneurial Orientation (EO) for value creation and to articulate a more general application of these entrepreneurial activities. To do so, this chapter examines data come from in-depth, semi-structured interviews with city managers in 20 local governments located in the Chicago, Illinois metropolitan area. The findings suggest that entrepreneurial strategic processes—problem framing, risk-taking, and collaboration—likely occur concurrently in public organizations, as new problems arise and old solutions move toward entropy. The findings help illuminate the theoretical bases for understanding public entrepreneurialism and the organizational conditions and strategies which sustain this culture.
'Specialized governance and regional land-use outcomes: A spatial analysis of Florida community development districts.' A. Deslatte, T.Scott, D.Carter - Land Use Policy, 2019. Specialized governance literature tends to approach special district differences at a surface level, rarely delving into consequential distinctions between districts types or their implications for policy outcomes. This article offers a step towards addressing these limitations by examining the land use impacts of an innovation in local government form referred to as “multipurpose development districts.” The article builds from a theory of local government formation to examine how Florida development districts – formally referred to within the state as community development districts (CDDs) – impact regional development patterns. Combining spatial data on land-cover change and CDD boundaries with nonparametric and Bayesian modeling approaches, the article provides a novel examination of CDDs’ influence on urban sprawl over a 15-year period. The results suggest that private developers’ use of development district formation to finance development infrastructure contributes to development in unincorporated areas. However, because within-district sprawl is disincentivized and overall district siting remains subject to regional planning and zoning restrictions, CDDs cluster this growth in ways which mitigate the negative effects of urban sprawl. The findings hold important implications for understanding regional growth and development processes, as well as the realization of state-level growth management policy goals.
'Citizen Assessments of Local Government Sustainability Performance: A Bayesian Approach,' A. Deslatte - Journal of Behavioral Public Administration, 2019. Citizens are increasingly critical information-processors, and government performance information has become ubiquitous to the tenants of democratic anchorage and support for public programs. Yet human perceptions of governmental policies and outcomes are increasingly partisan and resistant to updating. Partisan motivated reasoning can lead to inaccurate or biased assessments of both the merit of specific policies and governmental performance. This article presents a case for the use of Bayesian inference for experimental work on information-processing. Combining previous findings with a new experimental design, this study examines whether provision of performance information on local government implementation of federally initiated sustainability efforts ameliorates the partisan motivated reasoning of citizens. Contrary to expectations, the study finds evidence of attitude-strengthening in the face of disconfirming performance as well as suggesting partisan cues may help citizens calibrate their evaluations.
'Managerial Friction and Land‐Use Policy Punctuations in the Fragmented Metropolis,'A. Deslatte - Policy Studies Journal, 2018. Despite the portrayal of bureaucratic organizations as resistant to change, public managers have some ability to strategically move land‐use processes out of incrementalism, even when bureaucratic lethargy acts as a drag. This article examines managerial influence in land‐use policy by synthesizing theories of political markets and punctuated equilibrium. An information‐processing logic is developed to explain why local government managers shift from “inward” to “outward” land‐use management strategies in periods of environmental change. "Managerial friction” is defined as a strategic managerial adjustment producing punctuated land‐use policy change in the face of environmental changing conditions. Hypotheses are tested using data on Florida local government comprehensive plan amendments and a Bayesian methodological approach. The evidence suggests managerial friction can be distinguished from the effects of environmental and political complexity as well as other forms of institutional friction, including management turnover, legislative institutions, and bureaucratic structure.
'The Formation and Administration of Multipurpose Development Districts: Private Interests Through Public Institutions,' D. Carter, A. Deslatte, T. Scott - Perspectives on Public Management and Governance, 2018. Metropolitan communities across the United States are governed by an increasingly complex array of general, limited, and special-purpose governments. Although entrepreneurs’ pursuit of private benefit through local government formation is well recognized, we contend that their impact remains an underappreciated factor in contemporary local government landscapes. The argument is motivated by the emergence and proliferation of an innovation in local government form, which we refer to as “multipurpose development districts.” Through this article, we draw attention to these development districts and how they fit into theories of metropolitan governance. First, we distinguish development districts from their more traditional special district counterparts and offer a framework for conceptualizing development district formation and administration. Then, by way of illustration, we draw on evidence from case studies, media coverage, and development sector publications to provide a sketch of their growth and impacts across three states. Finally, we outline questions to guide research into development district implications, with particular attention to the institutionalization of private interests in these public entities.
'The Collaboration Riskscape: Fragmentation, Problem Types and Preference Divergence in Urban Sustainability,'A. Deslatte, R. Feiock - Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 2018. Local governmental efforts to achieve greater sustainability have come to play a prominent role within urbanized regions. Despite the prominence of collaboration and collective action in the inter-governmental literature, we know little about how the collaborative mechanisms used to address them are influenced by the configurations of horizontal, general-purpose governments and vertical, single-purpose governments. We combine national- and metropolitan-level analyses through a mixed-methods design to fill this lacuna. The first component examines how fragmentation influences choices of mechanisms for interlocal collaboration utilizing surveys of U.S. cities. The second component examines collaboration barriers between localities in a single metropolitan area through qualitative analysis of interviews conducted with twenty city managers in the Chicago metropolitan region, one of the most fragmented in the United States. These analyses offer evidence to support the conclusion that more fragmented regions may be better suited to overcome coordination risks and find more avenues for collaborative activities. However, preference heterogeneity within fragmented environments increases the risk of defection and thus offsets some advantages of polycentricity.
'What do we know about urban sustainability? A research synthesis and nonparametric assessment,'W. Swann, A. Deslatte - Urban Studies, 2018. Urban sustainability has become a burgeoning practical and scholarly enterprise over the last two decades. Yet, there have been few attempts to systematically assess what cumulative knowledge this research is generating. We advance our understanding of urban sustainability by synthesising extant empirical findings to gauge progress made towards developing theoretical insight, and then testing a nonparametric predictive model that helps overcome methodological challenges in this literature. Drawing data from two national surveys of US local governments, we find that although organisational capacity appears to be the most important predictor, the broad range of activities grouped under the banner of ‘urban sustainability’ rely on distinct causal mechanisms, and use of composite models and measures of sustainability may hinder theoretical advancement. Implications for future research are discussed.
'Handing over the Keys: Nonprofit Economic Development Corporations and Their Implications for Accountability and Inclusion,' A. Deslatte, A. Schatteman, E. Stokan - Public Performance & Management Review, 2018. Public organizations have explored service-delivery with nonprofit organizations to help alleviate the strain on their long-term fiscal sustainability. This interdependence has ramifications for fairness and responsiveness in service-delivery that are poorly understood. One area where government-nonprofit collaborative activity has not been explored is within the context of sustainable development. This study utilizes surveys of U.S. cities at multiple time periods to examine the comparative use of nonprofit economic development corporations and their performance on smart-growth and social equity policy activities. This study first explores the roles played by the two most common types of local nonprofit organizations—nonprofit Local Development Corporations (LDCs) and Community-Based Development Organizations (CBDOs)—in use of performance information and accountability mechanisms in local economic development activities. In turning to policy outcomes, the use of LDCs is negatively associated with land use policies intended to advance social inclusion.
'Hierarchies of Need in Sustainable Development: A Resource Dependence Approach for Local Governance,'A. Deslatte, E Stokan - Urban Affairs Review, 2017. Urban sustainability is a burgeoning focus for urban scholarship but rarely examined within the larger context of local government economic activities. Why should cities focusing on cutback management and competition for tax revenues be expected to devote all but the fleetest of attention to carbon footprints or metropolitan-wide environmental or social problems? To address this question, we utilize a resource dependence (RD) theoretical framework to conceptualize sustainable development as a pattern of contractual arrangements between governments and firms shaped by resource constraints. Utilizing survey data of U.S. cities and a Bayesian methodological approach, we present evidence that municipal job-recruitment efforts reduce the probability of observing an overall sustainability policy commitment. Cities which placed greater emphasis on retaining and developing existing businesses are also more committed to sustainability.
'Understanding the Drivers and Barriers to Fire Department Consolidation in Illinois,' R Herrmann, A Deslatte - Illinois Municipal Policy Journal, 2017. This study explores the drivers of and barriers to consolidation of fire department services within Illinois. Through interviews and reviews of archival documents, it considers consolidation efforts in four parts of the state that were motivated by a desire for service-delivery improvement, fiscal efficiencies and support from public unions. The findings offer lessons for municipal governments while also noting that state law does not appear to be conducive to consolidation, in part due to incompatibility with pension statutes and unclear statutory guidance. As a result, a general perception exists that the legal process for consolidation is, by design, difficult to navigate.
'Context Matters: A Bayesian Analysis of How Organizational Environments Shape the Strategic Management of Sustainable Development,'A Deslatte, WL Swann - Public Administration, 2017. Public administration scholars have argued the need for a ‘general theory’ linking strategic management to the context in which public organizations operate (O’Toole and Meier 2014). Understanding the interplay between organizational contexts and strategic management responses to urban sprawl and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions remains an underexplored avenue for empirical advancement of this goal. Using 2015 survey data, we employ a novel Bayesian item response theory (IRT) approach to test how land use policy comprehensiveness, organizational capacities, leadership turnover, and environmental complexities affect the strategic management of smart growth policy in local governments. We find public organizations harness political, administrative, and community capacities in varied combinations to better achieve their policy objectives, but these influences may not be complimentary. Also, policy comprehensiveness generally relates to more strategic activity, while municipal executive turnover offers opportunities and threats to some smart growth strategies. Implications of this research are discussed.
'Urban Pressures and Innovations: Sustainability Commitment in the Face of Fragmentation and Inequality,'A Deslatte, RC Feiock, K Wassel - Review of Policy Research, 2017. Local government innovations occur within environments characterized by high service-need complexity and risk. The question of how broader environmental conditions influence governmental willingness or ability to innovate has been a long-standing concern within organizational, management, and policy scholarship. Although wealth and education are robust predictors of the propensity to engage in a wide range of local sustainability activities, the linkages among governmental fragmentation, social inequality, and sustainability policies are not well understood. This study focuses on the conditions both within and across city boundaries in urban regions which inhibit adoption of sustainable development innovations. We utilize a Bayesian item response theory approach to create a new scale measuring sustainability commitment by local governments in the United States. The analysis finds service-need complexity and capacity within local governments’ organizational task environments have nonlinear influences on innovation in terms of both green building and social inclusion policy tools.
'A narrative approach to analyzing transitions in urban water management: The case of the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department,'G Treuer, E Koebele, A Deslatte, K Ernst, M Garcia and K Manago - Water Resources Research, 2017. Although the water management sector is often characterized as resistant to risk and change, urban areas across the United States are increasingly interested in creating opportunities to transition toward more sustainable water management practices. These transitions are complex and difficult to predict – the product of water managers acting in response to numerous biophysical, regulatory, political, and financial factors within institutional constraints. Gaining a better understanding of how these transitions occur is crucial for continuing to improve water management. This paper presents a replicable methodology for analyzing how urban water utilities transition toward sustainability. The method combines standardized quantitative measures of variables that influence transitions with contextual qualitative information about a utility's unique decision making context to produce structured, data-driven narratives. Data-narratives document the broader context, the utility's pretransition history, key events during an accelerated period of change, and the consequences of transition. Eventually, these narratives should be compared across cases to develop empirically-testable hypotheses about the drivers of and barriers to utility-level urban water management transition. The methodology is illustrated through the case of the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department (WASD) in Miami-Dade County, Florida, and its transition toward more sustainable water management in the 2000s, during which per capita water use declined, conservation measures were enacted, water rates increased, and climate adaptive planning became the new norm.
'Policy of Delay: Evidence from a Bayesian Analysis of Metropolitan Land-Use Choices,' A Deslatte, A Tavares, RC Feiock - Policy Studies Journal, 2016. Do local policymakers strategically use delay in permitting development to forestall the growth machine? The mantras of smart growth and sustainable development assume local governments can balance the competing values of economic development, ecology, and equity interests in a community. We employ a political market framework to explain differences in local government land use decisions. This framework conceptualizes policy choices as resulting from the interplay between the aggregate policy demand by residents, developers, and environmental interests and the aggregate supply by government authorities. Delays can be imposed strategically through processes of development approval by city governments where industry strength and form of government vary within county-level service-delivery fragmentation. We utilize novel Bayesian multilevel modelling of data collected from 2007 and 2015 surveys of Florida city planners and find strong institutional effects and multilevel relationships.
'Three Sides of the Same Coin? A Bayesian Analysis of Strategic Management, Comprehensive Planning, and Inclusionary Values in Land Use' A Deslatte, WL Swann, RC Feiock - Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 2016. Local government managers face fundamental, value conflicts when they engage urban land use issues. Despite the planet’s ongoing urbanization, managerial influence on land use policy remains an under-examined arena. Local governments are routinely asked to balance economic, ecological, and social equity concerns when making choices between alternative land use policy tools. Are local government sustainable development efforts more strategic, comprehensive, and inclusive than when led by professional public managers rather than elected mayors? How do the institutional forms of government inhibit or enhance the ability of specific policy demanders to influence the use of these tools under varying economic conditions? We answer these questions by examining the relationship between local government structure and land use policy utilization in different economic environments with a Bayesian analysis of surveys of Florida cities at three time periods. Differences between manager and mayoral executive leadership shape public management strategies, comprehensiveness, and inclusionary motives linked to land use policy tool utilization before and after the housing boom of the mid-2000s. However, management turnover mitigates this effect. Moreover, managerial influence is not evident at the housing bubble’s peak, which we argue is an important caveat to the empirical evidence on form of government.
'Boundaries and Speed Bumps The Role of Modernized Counties Managing Growth in the Fragmented Metropolis,' A Deslatte - Urban Affairs Review, 2016. Many counties in the U.S. federalist system have morphed from a limited role in service delivery to a workhorse for municipal-style local government. They also facilitate development and sprawl, helping to shape development patterns of the modern fragmented metropolis. Why do counties accommodate development demand that deviates from long-term land-use plans intended to prevent sprawl? Utilizing panel data of county land-use changes in Florida, this study finds evidence that the decisions are shaped by both external competition for growth and internal institutional incentives. Fragmentation fuels more leapfrog development patterns on the urban fringe. Horizontal fragmentation encourages counties to compete for development, whereas vertical fragmentation via special districts facilitates such development through provision of services and reducing pressure for public officeholders to raise taxes. However, these fragmentation effects are also influenced by modernized institutions in counties such as home-rule charters and form of government.
'Capturing Structural and Functional Diversity Through Institutional Analysis The Mayor Position in City Charters,' RC Feiock, CM Weible, DP Carter, C Curley, A Deslatte, T Heikklia - Urban Affairs Review, 2016. City charters affect the governance of municipal systems in complex ways. Current descriptions and typologies developed to study city charter structures simplify the diverse types and configurations of institutional rules underlying charter designs. This research note demonstrates a more detailed approach for studying the design of city charters using analytical methods based on the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework. This approach is illustrated with a pilot study of institutional rules in municipal charters that define the roles and duties of mayors. The findings reveal that city charters exhibit great institutional diversity, particularly within strong mayor cities. We conclude with a research agenda that could generate a more precise and rigorous understanding of the relationship between the different configurations of institutions of city charters and the politics, governance, and performance of municipalities.
'Is The Price Right? Gauging The Marketplace For Local Sustainable Policy Tools,' A Deslatte, WL Swann- Journal of Urban Affairs, 2015. Local government sustainability has become a cause c´el`ebre in urban policy. Extant research has attempted to construct narratives of sustainable environmental, economic, and social equity motivations by grouping together multifaceted types of policies adopted to deal with multidimensional problems of land use, transportation, energy, solid waste, carbon emissions, and other functional areas of local government. Yet, decades of policy adoption and implementation research suggest some policies or policy tools require a far greater commitment of resources and administrative and political buy-in than others. We explore whether the degree of such commitment reflects different motivations at play and test for distinct political economies for specific categories of energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction policy tools. We find evidence that the determinants for the two types of policies are distinct, and subsequent research requires refocusing theoretical and empirical efforts at differentiating “win-win” tools from more “altruistic” commitments to sustainable action by governments.
'Reassessing “City Limits” in Urban Public Policy,' A Deslatte - Policy Studies Journal, 2015. Urban public policy continues to explore the problems of urban growth and decline in a multidisciplinary fashion, focusing multiple theoretical lenses on questions of governance and division of authority as well as the practical applications for areas of policy specialization. This article reviews recent articles on income, housing, and racial/ethnic stratification, which share a common link of mobility-based prescriptions. It also reviews the role sustainability, equity, and cultural norms play in scholarship. The field is moving in a direction that integrates classical rational choice and sociological explanations for policies addressing sustainability and equity, the role of cultural identity in urban renewal efforts, and long-standing problems of citizen participation in government decision making.
'Municipal Charters,' A Deslatte - Encyclopedia of Public Administration and Public Policy, 2015. This entry reviews the history and study of municipal charters in the United States. It covers the origins of city charters, their constitutional and operational characteristics, and future directions of public administration research. Charters have been viewed through the new institutional analytic framework, which treats charters as constitution-level contractual agreements between citizens and government designed to minimize uncertainty about the future distribution of costs and benefits of public goods. Charters have also been the subject of political conflict as historically disenfranchised groups opposed charter reforms they argued would margin-alize their voice in governmental decisions. It briefly details the methods of " direct democracy " commonly included in charters as a response to corruption and inefficiencies.