Too Much of a Good Thing? Frequent Flyers and the Implications for the Coproduction of Public Service Delivery

Paper by Benjamin Y. Clark and Jeffrey L. Brudney: “The attention on coproduction and specifically technology-enabled coproduction has grown substantially. This attention had provided findings that highlight the benefits for citizens and governments. Previous research on technologically-enabled coproduction (Internet, smartphones, and centralized non-emergency municipal call centers), show that these technologies have brought coproduction within reach of citizens (Meijer 2011; Kim and Lee 2012; Norris and Reddick 2013; Clark, Brudney, and Jang 2013; Linders 2012; Clark et al. 2016; Clark and Shurik 2016) and have the potential to improve perceptions of government performance (Clark and Shurik 2016). The advent of technologically-enabled coproduction has also made it possible for some residents to participate at levels not previously possible. These high volume coproducers, now known as “frequent flyers,” have the potential to become pseudo-bureaucrats. This chapter seeks to understand if we need to be concerned about this development. Additionally, we seek to understand what individual & neighborhood characteristics affect the intensity of coproduction of public services and if there are diffusion effects of frequent flyers.

To address these questions, we use surveys of San Francisco, California, residents conducted in 2011, 2013, and 2015. Our results suggest that the frequent flyers are largely representative of their communities. Our study finds some evidence that racial and ethnic minorities might be more likely to be a part of this group than the white majority. And perhaps most interestingly we find that neighbors appear to be learning from one another — the more frequent flyers that live in a neighborhood, the more likely it is that you are going to be a frequent flyer….(More)”