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Cooperative Municipal Service Provision: A Political-Economy Framework for Understanding Intergovernmental Cooperation

Elisabeth R. Gerber, University of Michigan
Clark C. Gibson, University of California, San Diego


This paper was presented at the Creating Collaborative Communities Conference held at Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, October 31-November 1, 2005.


We develop and apply a theoretical framework for understanding how local governments respond to the perceived costs and benefits of intergovernmental cooperation. Our theory connects local government decisions to economic and political costs and benefits at both the local and regional levels, as well as the institutional context in which collaborative decisions take place. We develop and test hypotheses with data from a sample of regional councils. We find preliminary support for our institutional, local, and regional hypotheses