Regional Organizations and Interlocal Cooperation Among Florida Cities
Kwon, Sung-Wook (author)
Feiock, Richard C. (professor directing dissertation)
Scholz, John T. (outside committee member)
Berry, Frances S. (committee member)
Yang, Kaifeng (committee member)
School of Public Administration and Policy (degree granting department)
Florida State University (degree granting institution)
Just as collective action problems are an unavoidable feature of individual decision-making in social settings, regional problems, such as common pool resources and scale and externality problems in service provision, are unavoidable for local governments in metropolitan areas characterized by fragmented jurisdictional authority. Despite tremendous interest in regionalism and regional governance and a growing number of studies of various approaches to regionalism, the role of regional organizations in regional governance has not been sufficiently examined. The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate how and to what extent regional organizations influence self-organizing efforts by local governments to address regional problems involving intergovernmental fiscal cooperation and land development coordination by focusing on the role of Florida's Regional Planning Councils (RPCs). The institutional collective action (ICA) framework is applied to help understand cooperative efforts among local governments and provide explanations not only for general factors shaping interlocal cooperation such as community characteristics and the arrangement of political institutions, but also for how regional organizations may influence cooperation among local governments. The empirical results explore whether regional organizations influence self-organizing interlocal cooperation efforts in two ways. First, no support is found for a positive or complimentary influence on self-organized solutions to regional issues arising from regional organizations' network broker role. Second, where regional organizations possess greater resources, the likelihood that a municipality cooperates with neighboring communities on fiscal exchanges or land development issues decreases. Thus, the proactive roles of regional organizations appear to crowd out or substitute for self-organizing cooperation efforts that otherwise may occur. Third, evidence is also found that regional organizations' revenue from federal and state governments may compliment intelocal cooperation. In the process of distributing federal and state grants with specific designated purposes, regional organizations tend to favor cooperative efforts by providing opportunities for local authorities to develop mutual trust in the policy areas where the grants are spent. Interlocal cooperation is also influenced by community characteristics that create demands for, or barriers to, cooperation. Municipal governments experiencing fiscal stress are more active in interlocal revenue transfers. Racial homogeneity is also a factor. Highly homogeneous municipalities, less restricted by divergent citizen preferences, are more likely to engage in interlocal fiscal cooperation. Finally, political institutions are important to explain self-organizing efforts to solve regional problems. Municipal governments with the council-manager form tend more to receive interlocal revenue transfers and to cooperate with other local governments on land development issues. These results suggest that the selective career incentives of city managers can be a source of interlocal cooperation efforts. In addition, cities with more neighboring communities are less likely to rely on interlocal coordination for land development issues. This research has both practical and theoretical implications. State policy makers need to balance calls for regional efforts with an acknowledgement that centralized regionalism may sometimes undermine self-organizing solutions. In designing regional organizations and programs, they need to identify and minimize tradeoffs between horizontal and vertical regional solutions. This study suggests that scholars of regionalism and intergovernmental relations need to examine configurations of regional coordination mechanisms by addressing the influence of institutional arrangements in a more comprehensive way rather than simply focusing on either vertical or horizontal regional governance mechanisms in isolation. This study also provides agendas for future research. First, the analysis can be extended to the national level to reflect variation among regional organizations in different states. Second, a typology of the relationships between regional organizations and self-organizing interlocal cooperation can be advanced to investigate the various types of regional organizations. Third, different interlocal cooperation network structures among different regional organizations can be analyzed by using social network analysis programs. Finally, the influence of regional organizations can be examined in specific policy areas to account for service specific characteristics.
Land Use Coordination, Fiscal Cooperation, Institutional Collective Action, Interlocal Cooperation, Regional Organizations
June 2, 2008.
A Dissertation submitted to the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Richard C. Feiock, Professor Directing Dissertation; John T. Scholz, Outside Committee Member; Frances S. Berry, Committee Member; Kaifeng Yang, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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