Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2020

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Political Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



At the local level, the municipal government is a hub for providing and maintaining fundamental services for local demands; it is in charge of fixing municipal roads and traffic lights, picking up trash and recyclables, and removing snow for residents to abide in a better environment, particularly when local residents are in need. Yet, it is not entirely clear to what extent service provision by local governments is effective, and patterns of citizen nonpolitical participation are changing. In the first part of the dissertation, I examine whether municipal governments are effective in providing fundamental services, and whether municipal governments differ in the way they provide fundamental services to their residents based on the types of neighborhoods they reside in. I conduct a field experiment by actually submitting a pothole repair request to a municipal government, and testing the effectiveness of repairing requested potholes. Then, I extend the results by conducting an individual-level analysis, analyzing other municipalities, and conducting interviews with government officials. In the second part of the dissertation, I investigate whether a high profile police shooting of an unarmed black individual influences citizen propensity to contact and request services from municipal governments. I apply a quasi-experimental design, an interrupted time series analysis, on the universe of citizen service request data in order to estimate a causal effect of a police shooting on the frequency of citizen service requests. All together, my work offers credible evidence that local service delivery matters, that municipal service system is effective, and that negative interaction with law enforcement could have a causal effect on nonpolitical civic participation. This manuscript makes a positive contribution to the existing literature on government responsiveness and citizen participation by creating novel datasets, conducting a field experiment with actual potholes, and offering empirical evidence using cutting-edge methods.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Betsy Sinclair

Committee Members

Jacob Montgomery, Andrew Reeves, Bill Lowry, Jose Figueroa-Lopez,

Available for download on Wednesday, May 15, 2120