Do Advanced Information Technologies Produce Equitable Government Responses in Coproduction: An Examination of 311 Systems in 15 US Cities

37 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2019

See all articles by Benjamin Y. Clark

Benjamin Y. Clark

University of Oregon - School of Planning, Public Policy & Management

Jeffrey Brudney

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Wilmington

Sung Gheel Jang

State University of New York (SUNY), Stony Brook

Bradford Davy

Cleveland State University

Date Written: May 22, 2019

Abstract

The primary research question we seek to answer in this article is: Do governments respond differently to citizen service requests depending on where those requests originate in the city? This study is particularly salient in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests in response to police violence or the gross neglect of infrastructure in Flint, MI. While numerous studies have been able to demonstrate bias in policing, few (if any) have looked at biases that may be present in other types of general government services. Anecdotal (Davis, 2013; Meyer, 2013) and empirical (Jones, Greenberg, Kaufman, & Drew, 1977; Thomas, 1982; Thomas & Streib, 2003; Vedlitz, Dyer, & Durand, 1980) evidence has supported the claims by some that some cities were responding slower to service requests made in poor and minority neighborhoods than they were in the richer, whiter neighborhoods. We sought, in this article, to examine if there was empirical evidence to support these claims.

The results of our 15-city study of 311 systems (non-emergency service requests made by city residents) demonstrate no systematic differences in how the cities respond that would indicate a bias against minorities and poorer residents. Unsurprisingly, the effects are not consistent across all of our sample cities. While some cities have statistically significant differences showing slower responses for these neighborhoods and others show quicker, the practical differences are so small as to be of little concern during our study period (2007 – 2016).

Keywords: coproduction, 311, citizen contacts, coassessment

Suggested Citation

Clark, Benjamin Y. and Brudney, Jeffrey and Jang, Sung Gheel and Davy, Bradford, Do Advanced Information Technologies Produce Equitable Government Responses in Coproduction: An Examination of 311 Systems in 15 US Cities (May 22, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3395000 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3395000

Benjamin Y. Clark (Contact Author)

University of Oregon - School of Planning, Public Policy & Management ( email )

Eugene, OR 97403
United States

HOME PAGE: http://bit.ly/BenClark

Jeffrey Brudney

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Wilmington ( email )

601 South College Road
Wilmington, NC 28403
United States

Sung Gheel Jang

State University of New York (SUNY), Stony Brook ( email )

Health Science Center
Stony Brook, NY 11794
United States

Bradford Davy

Cleveland State University ( email )

Cleveland, OH 44115
United States

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