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Urban Collective Governance Organizations: The Effect of Institutional Arrangements on Organizational Behavior

Author: SUSAN E. BAER AND VINCENT L. MARANDO
Published in PAM, Vol. 8 No. 3

The authors analyze how the institutional arrangements, considered rules and
forms of public policy in this context, of four community benefits districts (CBDs) impact
organizational behavior in these organizations. A community benefits district is a quasigovernmental
city subdistrict organization that assesses an additional property tax to
both residential and commercial property owners within its boundaries. In exchange for
paying this additional tax, subdistrict property owners receive supplemental services such
as safety, sanitation (garbage collection), and economic development. The authors
examine these institutional arrangements in four subdistrict organizations in Baltimore,
Maryland; New York, New York; Louisville, Kentucky; and Cincinnati, Ohio.
Specifically, the authors find the following broad similarities in the organizations’
institutional arrangements: legislation at the state and local level is required before the
organizations can form; a necessary amount of favorable political will at the grassroots
level is required before the organizations can form; organizational governance by an
elected or appointed board is required; and a professional and non-professional staff that
manages the organizations’ daily operation is required. In addition, the authors find and
discuss the importance of more nuanced differences in these institutional arrangements on
organizational behavior. In the article, the authors show that how the organizations are
institutionally structured affects the way in which they behave.

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