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Governance by Agreements: Why do Local Governments Enter into Multilateral Agreements?

Simon Andrew, University of North Texas



While much can be learned about the roles of interjurisdictional agreements between two jurisdictions, little is known about the range and scope of multilateral agreements (MLAs) in the provision of collective goods. Based on the theory of institutional collective action, this paper explores two characteristics of agreements: restrictive and adaptive, and seeks to understand why local governments enter into one arrangement and not the other. This paper argues that the local government decisions to enter into MLAs are influenced by the characteristics of goods and services, the nature of interjurisdictional relations, the geographic configuration of governments, and the number of signatories involved. An analysis of public safety activities in Florida provides support for these propositions.