Street-Level Governments

Assessing Decentralization and Urban Services (An Evaluation of Policy Related Research)

by Robert K. Yin, Douglas Yates

Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 7.3 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

This study reviews the experiences with local school board elections, neighborhood health centers, team policing, community development corporations, little city halls, and other attempts to improve neighborhood services through decentralization. The review is based on an assessment of 269 existing case studies that were initially screened for research quality. The major findings are that decentralization mainly produces an increase in flow of information and an improvement in services, and that service improvements are in fact positively correlated with increase in client control. The major conclusion is that strong forms of decentralization could achieve positive outcomes, but that such forms are usually tried in open service bureaucracies (e.g., education) rather than closed ones (e.g., police and health). Neighborhood services, in other words, consist of different street-level governments that follow different professional and bureaucratic rules, and these affect the implementation of any general policies such as decentralization.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.