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Theories of metropolitan governance tend to underemphasize the salience of jurisdictional politics and jurisdictional institutions. This paper uses a one-shot prisoner's dilemma experiment, embedded within a questionnaire that was administered to local government officials in a metropolitan region, to evaluate how jurisdictionally based institutional roles (i.e., mayors, city-council members, executive-level administrators, department directors) affect the willingness of government officials to participate in metropolitan governance. Even though the incentives of one-shot prisoner's dilemma games favor defection, we find government officials to be generally inclined toward participating in our proposed metropolitan governance scenario. Contrary to common views that metropolitan cooperation is an unnatural and uncomfortable environment for elected officials, we find elected executives to be particularly supportive of the proposed project. We also find that local government officials are likely to consider the expected benefits to the residents of other jurisdictions when deciding whether their government will participate in an interjurisdictional project.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Florida State University 2: University of Kansas

Publication date: 2009-02-01

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