Alternative service delivery arrangements:
Kang, Seong Cheol
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The use of volunteers constitutes a major service delivery alternative that local governments can utilize to generate benefits such as cost savings, increased service provision, and improvement of community relations. However, there is little information regarding why local governments adopt volunteer programs, what is the extent to which public agencies attain such benefits, and why citizens choose to volunteer in local government service delivery programs. This dissertation seeks to answer these questions by using two different law enforcement survey datasets to conduct three quasi-experimental analyses. More specifically, this study is composed of three empirical essays that investigate the following questions: first, the determinants of local law enforcement agencies’ adoption of volunteer officer programs; second, the impact of volunteer officers on organizational performance; and finally, the correlates of local residents’ participation in voluntary citizen patrols. Several key findings of this study include the following. In the first empirical chapter, the results show that a council-manager form of government, size of the agency budget, and community policing initiatives are positively associated with greater use of volunteer officers. Increased tax burden and union strength are negatively associated with greater use of volunteer officers. For the second empirical chapter, the findings demonstrate that an increase in the ratio of volunteer officers is negatively associated with police performance as measured by the clearance rate. Finally, the results for the third empirical chapter indicate that expressive motives such as greater community safety, the expectation that one’s efforts will lead to a decrease in community crimes, and the perception of the severity of crime problems are positively associated with more active participation in local voluntary citizen patrol. These findings provide useful information about why local governments use volunteers, the impact of volunteers on organizational performance, and the motivations behind why citizens participate in local government initiatives.