The Relevance of the Municipality Debate for the Solution of Collective Action Problems

20 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2012 Last revised: 18 Oct 2017

See all articles by Peter J. Boettke

Peter J. Boettke

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Jayme S. Lemke

Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Liya Palagashvili

State University of New York (SUNY) - Purchase College, Department of Economics

Date Written: November 14, 2012

Abstract

Elinor Ostrom and her colleagues in The Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University in Bloomington conducted fieldwork in metropolitan police departments across the United States. They found that small police departments with a high degree of community involvement were able to effectively provide public safety in their communities. This finding in support of so-called “community policing” dealt a blow to the popular belief that consolidation and centralization of services was the only way to effectively provide citizens with public goods. However, subsequent empirical literature suggests that the widespread implementation of community policing has been generally ineffective and in many ways unsustainable. We argue that these failures are the result of 1.) institutional incompatibilities within the nested, polycentric network of organizations that provides public safety and 2.) perverse incentives generated by federal policy and the increasing militarization of the police.

Keywords: Community policing, public goods, decentralization, militarization of police

JEL Classification: H11, H41, H70

Suggested Citation

Boettke, Peter J. and Lemke, Jayme S. and Palagashvili, Liya, The Relevance of the Municipality Debate for the Solution of Collective Action Problems (November 14, 2012). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 12-58. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2175628 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2175628

Peter J. Boettke (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-1149 (Phone)
703-993-1133 (Fax)

Jayme S. Lemke

Mercatus Center at George Mason University ( email )

4400 University Drive, PPE 1A1
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Liya Palagashvili

State University of New York (SUNY) - Purchase College, Department of Economics ( email )

735 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577
United States

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