Service Shedding in Local Governments: Why Do They Do It?

Source: Scott Lamothe and Meeyoung Lamothe , Journal of Public Admin Research and Theory, Volume 26, Issue 2, April 2016
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From the abstract:
Using four consecutive International City/County Management Association alternative service delivery arrangement surveys, this study explores the determinants of service shedding by local government in the United States. Our findings indicate that service shedding is fairly common, with almost 70% of jurisdictions experiencing at least one termination between 1992 and 1997. With regards to why jurisdictions shed services, we find that prior delivery mode is very influential. Specifically, services that were contracted out in the previous time period are much more likely to be dropped than are those that were produced in-house. We also find that the behavior of neighboring jurisdictions matters—if your neighbors tend to provide a service, you tend to continue to do so as well. We find little support for the idea that either budget stress or ideology is impactful in the decision to drop services.