Institutional Collective Action and Economic Development Joint Ventures


Richard Feiock is the Augustus B. Turnbull Professor of Public Administration in the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy at Florida State University, and he directs the local governance program in the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State. His research and teaching interests are in local and urban governance. He is the author of Metropolitan Governance: Conflict, Competition, and Cooperation (2004) and the coauthor of Institutional Constraints and Policy Choice (2001) and City-County Consolidation and Its Alternatives: Reshaping the Local Government Landscape (2004) and has published widely on issues of local government and governance.

Annette Steinacker is an associate professor of political science in the Department of Political Science at Loyola University of Chicago. Her research and teaching interests are in urban politics. She has written articles on local economic development policy, metropolitan government restructuring, affordable housing, and city infill patterns. Current work includes a National Science Foundation grant on the use of bargaining games to explain city–firm development interactions and applications of decision-making models to the choice of policy designs.

Hyung Jun Park is an assistant professor in the Graduate School of Governance at Sungkyunkwan University of Korea. Previously, he served as a research fellow in the Korea Public Administration Institute. His research and teaching interests are in policy process, policy design and local governance. He has written articles on collaborative governance, local economic development policy, regulatory policy, social network analysis and institutional collective action. He has published numerous journal articles in Korean as well as in English including articles in Public Administration Review  and American Review of Public Administration.


There is high interest in economic development efforts involving cooperation or collaboration among metropolitan jurisdictions. To determine why some local governments engage in cooperative agreements while others do not, this paper investigates transaction obstacles, including bargaining, information, agency, enforcement, and division problems. The authors then advance an institutional collective action explanation for intergovernmental cooperation, focusing on the conditions under which these transactions costs are low. This work anticipates that the costs associated with interlocal cooperation are influenced by the demographic characteristics of communities, local political institutions, and the nature of regional government networks. Empirical analysis based on a national survey of local development officials provides support for several predictions from this model and identifies policy variables that, in turn, increase the prospects for cooperation, specifically through the development of informal policy networks.