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Public Administration and Shared Power: Understanding Governance, Networks, and Partnerships

H. George Frederickson, University of Kansas
David Matkin, University of Kansas


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


Starting with the “consolationist” and “fragmentationist” arguments in American local government and contemporary patterns of increasing jurisdictional cooperation and regionalization, this paper examines patterns of jurisdictional cooperation and power sharing in metropolitan regions, and analyses the influence of extrajurisdictional benefits on local government decisions to engage in regional agreements. Our findings are based on a survey of local government officials in the Kansas City Metropolitan area. Cooperation is examined using an Axelrod-type prisoner’s dilemma scenario. Participants include elected officials, chief administrative officers, and department-level administrators—Police Chiefs, Parks and Recreation Directors, Fire Chiefs, and Public Works Directors. Results point to differences in patterns of jurisdictional cooperation between elected officials and administrators. In addition, our analysis demonstrates how cooperation is affected by jurisdictional traits, such as population size and geographic location.