Interjurisdictional Collaboration: What Motivates Jurisdictions to Collaborate?

Julie Roberts, Tennessee State University


This dissertation research explores how city mayors and city managers in Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennessee view the cities they represent on a range of measures including overall performance, the strength of their city’s community asset base, the difficulty of funding public services, and collaboration with other jurisdictions, as well as the relationships between these judgements. Understanding how local officials view the strengths and weaknesses of their represented communities can provide insight into how their perceptions and beliefs affect the economic and community development decisions they make. Considering the range of economic development strategies ranging from traditional growth tactics which involve recruiting and retaining businesses, to community development strategies which include quality-of-life issues as an added component of success, it is helpful to understand the perceptions of the decision-makers which represent the cities for which these decisions are made. Through the use of survey data and publicly available secondary data, questions were explored addressing each of these issues. Overall results indicate that local officials from Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennessee have an understanding of their city’s overall performance and report accurately about it; local asset base strength, assessed across 31 items covering a range of types of community capital, is a stronger predictor of reported performance than a composite measure of reported funding difficulty across public services provided; and local officials are on average predicting a higher likelihood their city would collaborate if they perceive their city’s local asset base to be stronger. Throughout the research, the struggle of rural communities is apparent. However, based on an expanded definition of capital stocks available to communities including items such as attitudinal/social capital and cultural capital, cities have more options for growth than under a traditional model which primarily advocates for business recruitment and associated job and population increases. Several examples of successful “non-traditional” economic activities involve leveraging existing or untapped assets to increase overall economic viability for the city and/or region.

Subject Area

Public administration

Recommended Citation

Julie Roberts, "Interjurisdictional Collaboration: What Motivates Jurisdictions to Collaborate?" (2019). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI22582639.