Reviews and assesses the empirical research that has been undertaken for determining expenditures, production, cost, and demand functions for fire, police, and sanitation services. It is concluded that econometric contributions made towards understanding the factors that affect the nature of urban services delivery have fallen short of their potential usefulness for (1) hypothesis testing; (2) forecasting the level of public expenditures or the impact of various demographic, socioeconomic, and public policy changes, and (3) public service output specifications. Future research should abandon, for the time being at least, the aggregated cross-sectional approach typical of the analyses reviewed and concentrate on generating highly disaggregated time-series data on public service delivery at a neighborhood level for a city or on a jurisdictional level for a metropolitan area. With such data available, it should be possible to obtain improved insights into the processes of public service delivery.
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