Assessing the prevalence, participants, and predictors of coproduction: The case of Atlanta, Georgia

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Uzochukwu, Kelechi Nmaobi
Thomas, John C.
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In municipalities across the globe, traditional forms of governance are being supplemented by collaborative arrangements between governments and their constituencies toward jointly produced public services. Since the late 1970s, this phenomenon known as coproduction has been utilized in efforts to survive severe budget cuts, improve performance, increase accountability, and welcome traditionally silenced voices. However, no study to date has undergone a citywide assessment of coproduction to determine its breadth and depth in a city. Additionally, there is practically no empirical study that examines what citizen characteristics and perceptions are associated with participation in coproduction. The present study represents a first attempt to begin to fill these gaps in the literature. Specifically, this dissertation analyses: (1) How prevalent is coproduction? (2) Who engages in coproduction? and (3)What motivates coproducers? I employ a mixed-method case study of Atlanta, Georgia via its Neighborhood Planning Unit system, using focus groups, citizen questionnaires, census and GIS data, and direct observations. Overall, the coproduction classifications developed in this dissertation enable more systematic research on coproduction. The dissertation findings also contribute to our understanding of (1) how much this service delivery strategy is being utilized in an urban municipality, (2) which forms are most utilized, (3) what triggers participation in each form, and (4) who utilizes coproduction the most – even challenging the longstanding perception that African Americans and low-income groups do not participate in such activities. Lastly, study findings suggest a need to reconceptualize the current theory of coproduction as a public service delivery strategy.
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