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- The Adoption, Management, and Performance of Local Government Investment Pools: A Comparative Analysis of State Practices
- This dissertation examines the factors influencing a state’s decision to adopt a local government investment pool (LGIP), the institutional arrangements used in managing them, and the effect of the institutional types on LGIP performance. The dissertation extends the policy adoption theory with insights from investment theory to demonstrate that management credibility influences the likelihood of a state’s LGIP adoption. The study finds that the quality of financial management, the quality of professional leadership, proximate state neighbors who have previously adopted an LGIP, and economic factors determine a state’s proclivity to policy adoption. The dissertation also describes the institutional arrangements used in managing LGIPs and develops typologies based on their institutional arrangements. The dissertation compares LGIPs depending on the risk aversion of their institutional arrangements. The research extends the risk-return tradeoff in investment theory to LGIP institutional arrangements. The empirical findings show that LGIP institutional arrangement that has greater risk report higher performance. The dissertation also finds that competition in the LGIP market due to multiple vendors, and periods of economic recession account for higher performance because of higher risk-taking behaviors associated with them. This dissertation promotes public funds investment laws that emphasize prudent management of government finances and guides managers of the public purse on the types of institutional choices that optimize returns with minimal risk.
- Assessing Local Governments’ Debt Financing Strategies
- This dissertation assesses the importance of a specific debt instrument, the Certifi- cate of Obligation in the state of Texas. It conceptualizes the Certificate of Obligation as a type of contractual debt that enables local governments to finance their capital projects. This dissertation is guided by three research questions: (1) What are the various types of debt instruments employed by local governments and what are their relative advantages? (2) How prevalent is the use of a specific debt instrument such as Certificates of Obligation? And why would some local governments prefer to issue them while others do not? (3) To what extent does the local institutional environment, e.g., the executive authority of city managers in the council-manager form of government, affect debt financing behaviors of local governments? To examine the first research question, we created a typology to represent four ideal types of borrowing methods: (1) Contractual Debt, (2) Voter Approval/Special Tax Debt, (3) Guaranteed, and (4) Non-Guaranteed Debts. The typology examines whether or not the state mandates the referendum requirement for the use of each of these debt instruments, and at the same time determines whether each debt instrument is secured by multiple or single revenue sources. Using data we collected among municipal governments in Texas, we conducted two empirical analyses. The first analysis tests the hypothesis that Certificates of Obligation have higher borrowing costs compared to GO bonds, since a GO bond is often issued under the pledge of the bond issuers’ full-faith credit and taxing authority. We employed a two-stage least square analysis to test the general proposition in the state of Texas. Based on 741 Certificates of Obligation and GO bonds issued between 2008 and 2011, our analyses show that Certificates of Obligation are likely to incur True Interest Costs (TIC) similar to those of GO bonds. The second analysis explores factors explaining the use of Certificates of Obligation in 225 Texas charter cities. Based on Heckman’s two-stage, we found that a local government’s decision to issue Certificates of Obligation to be partly explained by the characteristics of local population, i.e., median household income, population growth, and the percentage of senior citizens living in the jurisdiction. In the case of GO bonds, we found that population size, property tax rate, debt burden, and the percentage of population with at least a college education, to be an important determinant of GO bonds. The volume of GO issuance by local governments was also related to the level of regional competition, i.e., government density. Additionally, we found that local political institutions matter and that they affect debt financing behaviors of local governments.
- The Current Status of Hazard Mitigation in Local Emergency Management: an Examination of Roles, Challenges, and Success Indicators
- This dissertation used an organizational structure framework to examine the current status of hazard mitigation from the perspective of emergency managers from four organizational structure categories. This study addressed three primary research questions: (1) What is the role of the local emergency management office in hazard mitigation and what is the function of other stakeholders as perceived by local emergency managers? (2) What are the challenges to achieving hazard mitigation objectives and what are the strategies used to overcome them? and (3) How do local emergency managers define hazard mitigation success? Thirty North Central Texas emergency managers were recruited for participation in this study, and data was collected through telephone interviews and an internet survey. A mixed methodology was used to triangulate qualitative and quantitative findings. Qualitative analyses consisted of inductive grounded theory, and quantitative data analyses consisted of independent samples t-test analyses, correlation analyses, and Chi-square analyses. Findings indicate that emergency managers from the different emergency management office categories have six self-identified roles in hazard mitigation planning and strategy implementation; have a similar reported level of involvement in different hazard mitigation-related activities; and perceive stakeholders as having four key functions in hazard mitigation planning and strategy implementation. Second, participants describe five obstacles that are categorized as internal organizational challenges and two obstacles that are categorized as outside organizational challenges. The Disinterested Stakeholders Challenge is rated as a more significant obstacle by participants from the Non-Fire emergency management office category. Emergency managers describe the use of four strategies for overcoming hazard mitigation challenges, and the ability to master these strategies has implications for achieving hazard mitigation success. Third, emergency managers define a tangible and intangible category of hazard mitigation success, and each category is comprised of distinct indicators. Lastly, the organizational characteristics of emergency management offices had significant relationships with their reported level of involvement in select hazard mitigation activities; the rating assigned to select hazard mitigation challenges; and the rating assigned to select hazard mitigation success measures. For integrated emergency management offices, their parent agency is found to be an asset for achieving hazard mitigation objectives.
- Delaying Evacuation: Risk Communication in Mobilizing Evacuees
- Evacuation is oftentimes the best means to prevent the loss of lives when residents encounter certain hazards, such as hurricanes. Emergency managers and experts make great efforts to increase evacuation compliance but risk area residents may procrastinate even after making the decision to leave, thus complicating response activities. Purpose - This study explores the factors determining evacuees’ mobilization periods, defined here as, the delay time between the decision to evacuate and actual evacuation. The theoretical model that guides this research is built on the protective action decision model (PADM). It captures both the social and psychological factors in the process of transferring risk information to mobilization action. The psychological process of risk communication originates from personalized external information and ends with the formation of risk perception, ultimately influencing evacuees’ mobilizations. Design/methodology/approach – Using structural equation modeling (SEM), the model is tested using survey data collected from Hurricane Rita (2005) evacuees in 2006 (N = 897). The residents of three Texas coastal counties (Harris, Brazoria, and Galveston) are randomly selected and telephone-interviewed. Findings – The findings indicate that mobilizations are affected directly by respondents’ concerns of the threats to their personal lives and costs and dangers on their evacuation trips. The perceptions of evacuees can be related to their exposure, attention, and understanding of the risk information. Research limitations/implications – The results suggest that practitioners pay more attention on the residents’ understanding of different types of risks, their abilities to process the risk information, as well as the means information is delivered. Therefore the public authorities should be more active in protecting evacuees’ properties and assets, as well as encourage evacuees to take closer shelters to avoid potential costs on road. Also the community should be more involved in mobilizing evacuation, as long as social cues can assist evacuees to better comprehend the threat information. Originality/value – This study tests the PADM framework empirically and structurally. It also clarifies the definition of evacuation mobilization using a new operation based on the evacuation groups per household.
- Discretion, Delegation, and Professionalism: A Study of Outcome Measures in Upward Bound Programs
- In our society, American citizens expect public policies to result in programs that address social problems in ways that are both efficient and effective. In order to judge if these two values are being achieved, public programs are often scrutinized through program monitoring and evaluation. Evaluation of public programs often is a responsibility delegated to local-level managers. The resulting discretion has to be balanced with the need for accountability that is also inherent in public programs. Evaluation is often difficult because outcomes are not readily measurable due to the complexity of the problems faced in the public setting. The Upward Bound program provides an example of this. Upward Bound provides services to students from low-income families and those in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree in order to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education and enroll in and graduate from postsecondary institutions. Upward Bound is implemented and evaluated based upon specifications decided upon at the local level. This discretion granted to local level managers has resulted in wide variations in the way the program is being evaluated. This presents a problem for evaluation and has resulted in inconclusive results as to the success of the program. One way to correct this problem is to try and gain a clear understanding of how the evaluation outcome measures are being chosen for Upward Bound. My study accomplished this task.
- Drilling Down Natural Gas Well Permitting Policy: Examining the Effects of Institutional Arrangements on Citizen Participation and Policy Outcomes
- Over the past decade the movement of natural gas drilling operations toward more suburban and urban communities has created unique policy challenges for municipalities. Municipal response is manifest in a variety of institutional arrangements, some more enabling than others regarding citizen access to public hearings. This observation lead to the main research question, “How are variations in citizen participation affecting policy outcomes?” The argument is made that institutions affecting citizen participation, in turn affect policy outcomes. If the general public is given access to public hearings, their preferences for longer setbacks will be taken into account and the approved gas wells will have greater distances from neighboring residences – effectively providing for greater safety. Given the paucity of research on the topic of natural gas drilling, the research first begins with the presentation of a theoretical framework to allow for analysis of the highly complex topic of gas well permitting, emphasizing the rule-ordered relationships between the various levels of decision making and provides a typology of collective action arenas currently used by Texas municipalities. The research uses paired case studies of most similar design and employs a mixed methods process for the collection, analysis and interpretation of the municipal level gas well permitting process. The investigation includes a complete census of 185 approved gas wells from four North Texas cities between the years 2002-2012; 20 interviews comprised of city officials and drilling operators; and archival records such as gas well site plans, ordinances, on-line government documents and other public information. The findings reveal that zoning institutions are associated with a 15% longer gas well setback than siting institutions and institutions without waivers are associated with a 20% longer gas well setback than institutions with waiver rules. The practical implications suggest that citizen participation has a positive effect on public safety within gas well permitting decisions.
- Explaining Economic Development Strategies Using Product Differentiation Theory: a Reconceptualization of Competition Among City Governments
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Local governments do not operate in a vacuum. Instead, they are part of a complex “polycentric” system of governments where politically autonomous and self-ruled cities compete with one another over taxable wealth. Missing from the scholarship on metropolitan governance is an understanding of the factors driving competition among local governments. The purpose of this dissertation is to fill this gap by examining how interjurisdictional competition over economic development impacts a city’s choice of strategies for attracting business and residential investment and how those strategies affect revenue collection. First, this dissertation examines whether cities, knowing the economic development strategies of their neighboring cities, pursue similar types of businesses? Or do cities strategically target different types of businesses as a way to avoid the negative consequences of competition? Second, this dissertation explores what impact the decision to pursue similar or dissimilar businesses has on the revenue collection of local governments. Using spatial data analysis to analyze a sample of 2,299 cities, this dissertation finds general support for both theoretical frameworks presented. Overall, the findings from both analyses provide unique insights into metropolitan governance and interjurisdictional competition.
- The Interactive Effect of Fund Balance and Revenue Diversification on Local Government Fiscal Sustainability
- This dissertation explores how cities achieve fiscal sustainability—the financial capacity to consistently meet basic public service responsibilities regardless of economic conditions. Two research questions arise from the interplay between the local economy and fiscal sustainability. First, what management tools do cities use to achieve fiscal sustainability given that economic conditions are largely outside their control? Second, what explains the variation among cities in the financial management tools used to achieve fiscal sustainability? The financial management tools of interest in this study are revenue diversity and the size of the fund balance. It is conjectured that financial management tools interact with each other prompting the tools to function as policy substitutes for each other. Cities achieve fiscal sustainability by strategically choosing budget-balancing tools appropriate to their economic conditions. The study utilizes a cross-state comparison from 351 Massachusetts municipal governments using panel data from 2000 to 2009 and 993 New York municipal governments using panel data from 2001 to 2010. Using theories of fiscal sustainability and revenue diversification, several models are proposed that test the interactive effects of fund balance size and revenue diversity on fiscal sustainability. The results from the empirical analyses show that cities use various financial management tools to stabilize spending during economic downturns. Cities pursue strategies that help maintain fiscal sustainability. Furthermore, it is discovered that interaction of fund balance and revenue diversity on municipal expenditures is stronger as the level of revenue diversity decreases. This interaction has a large effect during periods of economic downturns as compared to periods of economic growth.
- The Interactive Effects of Tax and Expenditure Limitations Stringency with Revenue Diversity and the Council-manager Form of Government on Municipal Expenditures
- This dissertation examines the effects of tax and expenditure limitations (TELs) stringency and its interaction with revenue diversity and the council-manager form of government on municipal general fund expenditure. TELs are explicit rules that states impose to reduce local government spending. TELs stringency varies from state to state, leading to difficulties in assessing their impact across the nation. This dissertation proposes a new means for measuring the stringency of TELs imposed on local governments. Factor analysis is utilized, and then factor scores are calculated to identify degrees of TELs stringency. This study contends that higher levels of TELs stringency are associated with lower local government spending. However, the effectiveness of TELs is dependent on revenue diversity and the form of government. This study suggests that both revenue diversity and the council-manager form of government mitigate the impacts of TELs stringency on local government spending. Panel data from 2007 to 2011 from 1,508 municipalities are utilized. This study finds that higher levels of TELs stringency are associated with lower levels of municipal general fund expenditures per capita. However, TELs stringency is effective only when revenue diversity is low and when cities have a form of government other than council-manager. These results are generally consistent with the theory presented in this dissertation.
- Investigating Communication and Warning Channels to Enhance Crowd Management Strategies: a Study of Hajj Pilgrims in Saudi Arabia
- The global increase in the number of mass gatherings and crowded events has brought with it new emergencies and unintended consequences for public administrators and first responders. Crowd managers attempt to overcome these challenges by enhancing operations, alleviating financial losses, keeping event organizers safe from liability and, most importantly, keeping the attendees safe. Effective communication among and between officials and guests has been identified as a key element in this process. However, there is a lack of risk communication studies, especially about heterogeneous crowds that congregate at religious events. With this gap in mind, this research aims to investigate the use of major communication channels available and/or preferred by Muslim pilgrims in Makkah, Saudi Arabia during Hajj to gauge their effectiveness in communicating risk information. This annual religious pilgrimage was chosen because it attracts over 2 million pilgrims from more than 140 countries, most of whom speak different languages and belong to different cultures but perform the same rituals at the same time. This dissertation seeks to answer three broad research questions: “what are the most popular communication channels used by pilgrims,” “what are the weaknesses of the current communication strategies,” and “what can be done to improve risk communication among pilgrims, and between pilgrims and authorities to enhance crowd control and crowd management strategies.” The protective action decision model (PADM) is used as the theoretical framework to understand the influence of six factors (environmental cues, social cues, information sources, channel access and preferences, warning messages, and receiver characteristics) on risk communication. In collaboration with the Transportation and Crowd Management Center of Research Excellence (TCMCORE) of Saudi Arabia, a convenience sampling strategy was employed to interview 348 pilgrims in the Prophet’s Mosque area, during the Hajj of 2013. The surveys were conducted in Arabic and English and included pilgrims from different backgrounds and countries. Data analysis included an evaluation of the correlation between the use of risk communication channels and receiver characteristics, message content, and information sources. Findings highlight low percentages in the overall use of communication channels. It also demonstrated an over-dependence on channels that foster the passive top-down communication strategy (such as TV stations, messages at mosques, billboard, text messages, and pamphlets), while marginalizing channels that foster the horizontal and bottom-up strategies (such as bilingual staff outreach and social media). The findings also show the differences in risk communication channels used by pilgrims from different socio-demographic groups. The study concludes that adopting bottom-up and horizontal strategies is key to effective risk communication. Additionally, crowd managers must recognize the importance of social media and use this medium more proactively. They can also work towards increasing the overall effectiveness of risk communication channels by addressing the impact of information sources, channel access, and receiver characteristics to better suit the needs of pilgrims. Finally, the study states the limitations and future research directions.
- The Mediating Role of Professional Membership Associations Through the Prism of Organizational Social Capital
- Civil society emphasizes the importance for citizens to be involved and developed in association with other people. The importance of socialization for citizens to learn civic values and develop virtues of tolerance and solidarity is generated by voluntary associations. Mediating structures are the entities that help to integrate disconnected elements of civil society and strengthen communities. Social capital is one of the elements that is actively utilized by mediating structures to connect people to, and get involved with others in mobilizing their efforts collectively for both public and private causes through volunteering. Traditionally only charitable nonprofits were perceived to be mediating structures. However, there are scattered examples of non-charitable professional membership 501(c)(6) associations engaging themselves and their members in social programs and community volunteering unaccountable for in the literature. Using the theories of mediating structures and social capital this research questions the assumption of limited applicability of mediating structures. Extensive empirical analysis of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) dataset is performed to determine how social capital and other organizational factors affect the performance of mediating roles by professional membership associations.
- Megachurches and Economic Development: A Theoretical Understanding of Church Involvement at the Local Level
- Why do megachurches participate in economic development, and who benefits from their participation? Frumkin's framework for understanding nonprofit and voluntary action and extra-role behavior are theories tested to answer these questions. My research employs a mixed-methods research design conducted in two phases. In phase one, I analyze 42 responses to an online survey to provide data about the prevalence and nature of economic development activities offered by megachurches in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Phase two involved 23 semi-structured telephone interviews with megachurch leadership to provide data that explains the rationale for why megachurches offer economic development activities and who benefits. Evidence from this research demonstrates that megachurches are participating in economic development for reasons consistent with both demand-side and supply-side arguments. Findings also show that megachurches take on extra-role behaviors for in response to community expectations and the values of members and staff. Implications for understanding partnership decisions and collaborations between faith-based organizations and local governments are discussed.
- Morality and Mortality: the Role of Values in the Adoption of Laws Governing the Involuntary Removal of Life Sustaining Medical Treatment in Us States
- Disputes between patients and providers regarding life-sustaining medical treatment (LSMT) are universal across all U.S. states, yet policies regarding these disputes differ significantly. This dissertation determines that all 50 states have advance directive laws that protect a patient’s right to refuse LSMT even when a healthcare provider objects, yet only some states have policies that protect the patient’s right to choose to continue LSMT when a healthcare provider objects (a dispute known as medical futility). Some states have pro-patient laws that protect the patient’s right to make the final decision, while other states have enacted pro-provider medical futility policies that explicitly grant the provider authority to remove LSMT against the patient’s wishes. Finally, in one state, the law delegates the final decision to a third-party: institutional healthcare ethics committees. This dissertation studies the innovation and adoption of these 17 state medical futility policies, examining the theory that values determine both whether the state adopts a medical futility policy as well as what type of medical futility policy a state will adopt- as the policy actors that represent these values: policy entrepreneurs and interest groups. A comparative case study of successful third-party policy adoption in Texas contrasted against a failed effort in Idaho could not affirm the necessity of policy entrepreneurs for policy adoption but did affirm the necessity of interest group consensus and the role of values. Furthermore, quantitative analysis failed to offer statistically-significant evidence of value indicators, but did suggest that government ideology and political party affiliation may potentially become indicators of the type of medical futility policy that states choose to adopt.
- Organizational Citizenship Behaviors Among Public Employees In Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, Mexico
- This study develops a theoretical framework to examine the major dimensions of transformational leadership style (TLS), public service motivation (PSM), organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), and public organization performance (POP). It is hypothesized that when employees perceived a public organization is practicing a transformational leadership style, they are likely to have a favorable view on the performance of their organization, but the effect is indirect and mediated by OCB. At the same time, if employees have a strong desire to serve and improve the welfare of others, they are likely to perform beyond their job requirements and thus, likely to express a positive view on the organizational performance. A structural equation modeling was used to examine 1,016 public employees (67.7% response rate) in the Guadalajara metropolitan area, Mexico i.e., concerning their perceptions about leadership style, motivation to serve in the public sector, citizenship behaviors, and public organizational performance. The results suggest that if Mexican public employees perceived their leaders to adopt a transformational leadership style, they were likely to have a favorable view on the performance of their organization (direct effect); and that, the effect is mediated by their tendency to engage in activities that would contribute to the functioning of the organization without expecting any kinds of reward (indirect effect). In addition, if employees have a strong motivation to serve in the public sector, they are also likely to have a favorable view on the performance of the organization; and that, the positive effect is mediated by their tendency to act for the goodness of other employees and organizations without expecting some form of reward (indirect effect). A multi-group analysis, based on the hypothesized model, revealed the associations varied across three groups: difference between male and female, places of employment within the public sector (i.e., local or state government), and job descriptions or major tasks performed by employees in an organization (i.e., services oriented or administrative role).
- Organizational Learning Capacity As a Predictor of Individuals’ Tendency Towards Improvisation in Nonprofit Organizations in Saudi Arabia
- The study is undertaken for a more compressive understanding for organizational theory and its applicability to tendency towards improvisation during emergency times among individuals in Non Profit Organizations (NPOs) in Saudi Arabia. The analysis involved an examination of direct effect of learning on tendency towards improvisation and possible mediating effects between organizational learning and tendency towards improvisation among individuals in NPOs, while controlling for key demographic differences (e.g. individuals’ age, education level and years in service, number of full-time staff and volunteers). Self-administered questionnaires were distributed to full-time employees in 13 NPOs in three cities in the western area of Saudi Arabia, namely Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah (N= 304). The main statistical method employed to hypotheses examination was Structural Equation Modeling. The hypothesis examination resulted in three out of five hypnotized paths are to be significant. Two direct relations were interpreted as outcomes of organizational learning, with increases in the level of organizational learning is being positively related to individuals’ self –efficacy and agility. The third significant path interpreted as individuals’ agility is positively related to their tendency to improvise during emergency times, which indicates organizational learning has indirect effect on tendency towards improvisation. Finally, the applicability of organizational learning theory to the field of emergency management and suggestions for future research in light of the findings of this research are also discussed.
- Perceptions of Disaster Professionalism in Mexico: Adding a New Public Management Perspective to Emergency Management
- This study investigated the perceptions of emergency managers regarding the degree of emergency management professionalism in Mexico and how it can be improved. The disaster of the Mexico City earthquake of 1985 was used as the starting point for this case study, as the prospects for more-frequent and more-intense disasters lend credence to the need for improved professionalism and, thus, effectiveness among emergency managers in the future. An expansive framework of emergency management professionalism mechanisms (or characteristics) and an additional compilation of new public management components (or values) were devised from the extant literatures found within the respective emergency management and public administration fields. The theory advanced by this study is that by integrating new public management components with emergency management mechanisms, professionalism in Mexico will improve and, thus, emergency managers will become more effective. ualitative field research was the methodology employed and it included interviews with 35 emergency managers in Mexico in corroboration with documentary evidence, to ascertain emergency managers' perceptions of professionalism in Mexico. The findings of this study determined that emergency managers in Mexico are implementing many of the mechanisms of professionalism but fewer new public management components. This study posits that by integrating new public management components with emergency management professionalism mechanisms, professionalism in Mexico will improve and will increase emergency managers' effectiveness.
- Return-Entry Risk Communication Following 2012 Hurricane Sandy
- Within risk communication, much is understood about pre-event warning related to evacuation and sheltering; however risk communication during the return-entry phase when ending evacuations has been largely under-studied in the disaster literature. Understanding of the return-entry risk communication process is important because returning early or prior to issuance of the all-clear message can make returnees susceptible to post-disaster risks, and also hamper post-disaster activities such as debris removal, traffic management, utility restoration and damage assessments. Guided by the Warning Components Framework and the Theory of Motivated Information Management, this dissertation focuses on risk communication as it pertains to organizational behavior during the return-entry process by examining how local emergency management organizations develop, disseminate and monitor return-entry messages. The data is collected through semi-structured telephone interviews with local emergency management organizations that managed return-entry following Hurricane Sandy. The findings of the study indicate that local emergency management organizations required information on post-disaster threats, damages, and utility and infrastructure condition in order to develop return-entry strategy for their community. Organizations improvised to their existing risk communication measures by adopting creative ways for information dissemination to the evacuees. They also utilized active and passive approach to monitor public response to the return-entry messages.
- Sources of Organizational Resilience During the 2012 Korean Typhoons: an Institutional Collective Action Framework
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The objective of this proposed research is to test whether interorganizational collaboration contributes to the ability of an organization to bounce back swiftly from disasters. The research questions are examined from the Institutional Collective Action (ICA) perspective. The general argument of this dissertation is that organizational resilience can be explained by interorganizational collaboration. The ICA framework, specifically, identifies two general network structures to explain strategies that can be adopted to minimize collaboration risks: bonding and bridging structures. This dissertation focuses on how governmental and nongovernmental organizations in South Korea collaborated. The data was collected from the southeastern tip of the Korean Peninsula in August of 2012, and January of 2013. The 2012 Typhoons devastated the area after the first data set was collected in August 2012, causing the loss of estimated US$ 730 million and 29 fatalities. Afterward, the second survey was administrated in January of 2013 to gauge respondents’ views on how organizations responded to the disasters. This dissertation consists of three essays. The first essay presents a brief overview and assessment of the current research on resilience. The second essay empirically tests the sources of organization resilience. The third essay examines the dynamic nature of interorganizational ties by employing stochastic actor-based models. The findings show how organizations prefer to not coordinate with other organizations even though this could reduce their strains during a disaster. The findings also suggest that organizations that operate in higher risk areas or participate in joint full-scale exercises before a disaster form interorganizational ties afterward.
- Strategic Path to Fiscal Sustainability: Revenue Diversification and the Use of Debt By U.S. Municipal Governments
- This work explores the relationship between municipal government debt and revenue diversification using a prism of institutional and fiscal interactions, concentrating on revenue fungibility effects over time and on the role of state-imposed constraints. A diversified revenue structure tends to stabilize revenue levels by balancing income-elastic and inelastic revenue sources. The impact of such diversity has been the subject of much research on expenditure and service levels among state and local governments. Considerably less research has been conducted on its potential relationship with debt, although capital financing is a necessary and often-utilized mechanism for funding capital and operational spending for local governments. Since it is well known that debt payments are fixed in the short run, they require sufficient revenue adequacy through economic highs and lows. It is thus argued that local governments with more diversified revenue structures are better able to utilize debt financing since revenue diversity mitigates the risk of borrowing by providing for greater fiscal predictability in the long run. This hypothesis is tested on two samples - a large sample of cities in Massachusetts from 2000 through 2009, as well as a cross-state sample, encompassing the cities from the majority of U.S. states. The findings of both studies provide preliminary evidence on the influence of revenue diversification on the levels of municipal indebtedness. While the Massachusetts study reveals that revenue diversification is, indeed, a statistically significant determinant of debt per capita, which also has an indirect effect on property tax burdens, the cross-state study suggests that revenue diversification has a mitigating impact on certain state-imposed fiscal rules, further adding to its weight as a strategic financial management tool. Both studies also reiterate the importance of such fiscal capacity factors as fund balances, intergovernmental revenue, and the size of government, while also revealing some new interaction patterns among various state-imposed debt limitations.
- User Acceptance of Technology: an Empirical Examination of Factors Leading to Adoption of Decision Support Technologies for Emergency Management
- This study examines factors that influence the intent to use and actual use of decision support software (DSS) technology by emergency management officials to facilitate disaster response management. The unified theory of acceptance and use of technology popularized by scholars from the field of information sciences (IS) for the private sector is adapted and extended to examine technology use in the public sector, specifically by emergency managers. An e-survey was sent to 1, 452 city and county emergency management officials from FEMA region VI and complete responses obtained from 194 were analyzed. Findings suggest that social influence is the strongest predictor of intent to use DSS technology by emergency managers, unlike private sector studies where performance expectancy was the strongest predictor. Additionally, effort expectancy, collaboration, social vulnerability, professionalism, performance expectancy, and gender explained 40 percent of their intent to use DSS technology. Factors explaining actual use of technology were intent to use technology, having an in house GIS specialist, and age of the emergency manager. This research successfully closes the gap in IS and disaster literature by being the first to focus on factors influencing technology use by emergency managers for decision making in disaster response. It underscores the importance of collaboration not only for post-disaster activities but also as a precursor to better disaster preparedness planning that calls for information sharing and technology acceptance and adoption across partnering jurisdictions.
- Utilizing Traditional Environmental Knowledge in Industrialized Nations to Assist in Disaster Evacuations
- Using traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), which is typically reserved for understanding how indigenous societies function successfully, and applying this to developed countries' ideas of disaster planning and response, emergency planners, public officials, and lay-persons can gain an understanding of their environment. Stories, history, education, and The waterborne evacuation of Lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001 provides a backdrop with which to test the tenets of TEK in a developed nation setting. This dissertation has found that TEK was effective when used by a developed nation and should be integrated into the current disaster system in the US.