There is a longstanding debate about whether the fiscal and institutional arrangements for the provision of quality urban services should be more dispersed or concentrated. We contribute to the debate by exploring the link between fiscal arrangements and public service quality by compiling a unique panel dataset of the quality indicators for major U.S. urban park systems and their funding sources from different types of overlapping local jurisdictions. This article shows that a more dispersed fiscal arrangement among cities, counties, and special districts is negatively associated with the quality of urban park systems. We conclude the article by discussing possible mechanisms of why such a negative correlation between more dispersed fiscal arrangement and the quality of public services applies to shared amenities like urban parks services. The nature of public services seems to be the key to understanding this relationship.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was partially supported by the Ostrom Workshop at Indiana University. The authors wish to thank Michael McGinnis, the participants of the 2018 ASPA Section on Public Performance Management Symposium, the participants of the 2018 Rethinking Cross-Sector Social Innovation Conference, and the reviewers for their helpful comments.
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- Fiscal arrangements
- local government
- metropolitan governance
- public management