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Modeling Bureaucratic Incentive Systems in a Local Public Economy

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Ostrom, Elinor
Conference: Edmund Janes James Lecture
Location: University of Illinois
Conf. Date: October 5
Date: 1982
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1644
Sector: Social Organization
Subject(s): Workshop
service delivery
local public economy
Abstract: (From page 1:) "Distinquished groups of scholars and public officials, such as the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, have argued for many years that the structure of government in most metropolitan areas is a jungle, a maze, a jigsaw puzzle, a hurdle -- or other terms that convey the sense of being chaotic (ACIR 1977). The reform repeatedly recommended for metropolitan areas is to simplify the structure. Good government is equated with simple structure. Bad government is associated with comples structure. This has been implicitly assumed. My colleagues and I at the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis have argued for some time that before we recommend massive changes in the structure of local government, we should understand how structure affects performance (V. Ostrom, Tiebout, and Warren, 1961; V. Ostrom and E. Ostrom, 1966; E. Ostrom, Parks, and Whitaker, 1978; E. Ostrom and Parks, 1982). "Without an understanding of how political structure affects outcomes, we cannot know whether recommended reforms will improve or detract from the performance of local governments..."

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