When Ties Bind: Public Managers’ Networking Behavior and Municipal Fiscal Health After the Great Recession

Source: Benedict S. Jimenez, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Volume 27 Issue 3, July 2017
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From the abstract:
This study examines the relationship between managerial networking and the fiscal health of city governments in the United States that faced a serious budget crisis during and immediately after the Great Recession. Do public managers’ ties with external stakeholders help improve the fiscal health of these cities? Or do these ties bind city officials to decisions that further exacerbate the fiscal difficulties of their governments? These questions are answered using data from a survey of municipal governments across the United States with a population of 50,000 or more, and financial data from Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) covering more than 200 cities and for three fiscal years. Using instrumental variable regression to address possible common source bias and simultaneous causation, there is strong evidence that an external networking orientation is associated with a decline in city government fiscal health, whether the measure used is perceptual or CAFR-based.