Volume 47, No. 2 | Co-production – citizens’ contributions to public service production

Simon Calmar Andersen, Helena Skyt Nielsen and Mette Kjærgaard Thomsen | Service users’ response to increased public services: Results from a randomized field experiment in education

Recent studies indicate that service users may respond to increased investments in the public service production (in education) by lowering their contribution to the service production. This is unfortunate as it reduces the overall effect of increased public investments. However, coproduction theory suggests that service users’ response depends on whether they perceive the increased public effort as complementary to their own input or as a substitute. In a randomized field experiment in primary education we examined the behavioral response of service users to three different, but comparable public initiatives. In one initiative, the academically weakest students were assigned significantly more homework in an attempt to involve their parents in helping them with homework. According to our results, the children experienced that their parents did help them more. This suggests that if the design of such public initiatives makes service users perceive their contribution as a complement to the public effort the effect can be strengthened rather than weakened.

Jens Blom-Hansen and Martin Bækgaard | Can performance information motivate citizens to co-produce?

The article asks what governments can do to motivate citizens to engage in co-production. Based on the broader public administration literature we develop a general explanatory model of citizen co-production motivation. In our empirical study we focus especially on the impact of performance information on citizen co-production motivation. We test our model using data from a randomized survey experiment in which some but not all citizens were presented with information on local government school performance. The analysis shows that performance information influences citizen satisfaction with public school services and in turn also has some but weak impacts on their motivation to co-produce.

Morten Jakobsen and Mette Kjærgaard Thomsen | Coproduction, public initiatives and service users’ motivation

The quantity and quality of public services are improved when citizens coproduce, that is, contribute input to public service provision. It is therefore becoming increasingly common for local governments to initiative coproduction initiatives in order to enhance citizen input to coproduction. However, we know little about how these initiatives influence citizens’ motivation to coproduce. Using lower secondary education as the relevant service area, this study tests the effect of a coproduction initiative on parents’ intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Our results show that only intrinsic motivation is positively and significantly related to citizen input to coproduction, and for less educated parents the initiative was found to have a negative effect on their intrinsic motivation. These results highlight how important it is that local governments pay attention to unintended motivation effects when they initiate coproduction initiatives.

Annika Agger | Potentials and challenges in early involvement of citizens in coproduction in the form of co-governance

Few studies of co-production in the form of co-governance focus on early involvement of citizens in the input stage of a policy process. What kinds of challenges and potentials does this form of co-production bring about when citizens, local councilors and public administrators collaborate to develop public policies? The empirical foundation for the article is a study of a Danish municipality, Albertslund, where six local councilors, six citizens and three public administrators participated in a formal committee with the purpose of developing a new municipal policy for citizen participation. The study concludes that citizens improve their democratic capabilities and trust in the political establishment in the municipality by participating in the committee. However, a condition for realizing the potentials is a willingness to collaborate in new and more interactive ways.

Johan Vamstad | A different path to individualization of welfare services? Co-production of childcare services in Sweden

The Swedish welfare state has in recent years undergone extensive reforms that have allowed quasi-markets to be formed in several social service areas. The establishment of these quasi-markets has been said to ensure greater individual freedom as well as competition between service providers that will create greater efficiency and better quality. But are quasi-markets really the only means to reach these goals? This paper studies how co-production can be used to reach the same or similar goals. The possibilities of co-production in the welfare state and its significance for what Marshall called social citizenship will be presented, using results from a research project on co-production. The results will show that co-production, like quasi-markets, has its limitations – especially with regard to marginalized groups in society – but that co-production has the potential to combine individualization of social services with social cohesion, provided that there is a political will to do so.

Rasmus Abildgaard Kristensen | Chinese mining investment in Australia and Canada – lessons for Denmark and Greenland

Chinese investment has become a “bogeyman” in the debate on the exploitation of Greenland’s mineral resources, but are there reasons for concern? The article looks at experiences in Australia and Canada, where China has made massive mining investment over the past decade. Both countries have had mostly good experiences with the Chinese investors, although it has been a difficult process marked by popular skepticism and mutual misunderstandings, and where both the Chinese companies and the host country authorities have undergone a steep learning curve. Denmark and Greenland could learn a lot from the Australian and Canadian experiences, which show that the key to success is dialogue and strict regulation. This has forced the Chinese investors to learn and adapt. The article also demonstrates the theoretical value of an institutional perspective, including the concept of organizational learning, in the study of Chinese direct investment abroad.

Lars Erslev Andersen and Louise Wiuff Moe | Global or regional jihad? Foreign fighters and al-Qaida rhetoric in al-Shabaab’s nationalistic rebellion

Foreign fighters are seen as a great threat to Western countries. The “Syria warriors” have recently been in focus, but the debate started much earlier, with particular reference to the threat that is said to be posed by the Somali rebel group al-Shabaab. What is the empirical basis for the alleged link between regional conflicts, Jihad groups, and a growing threat to the West? Are there clear examples of al-Shabaab organizing attacks or recruiting fighters to return to the West to carry out terrorism? Empirical data from open sources and analysis of al-Shabaab indicate that this alleged link lacks empirical basis, but nevertheless is used to legitimize extending support to anti-terrorism initiatives and increasing the resources and powers of intelligence services.

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