Collaboration networks among local elected officials: Information, commitment, and risk aversion

Richard C. Feiock, In Won Lee, Hyung Jun Park, Keon Hyung Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Institutional collective action (ICA) problems arise from fragmentation of service responsibilities among a multitude of governments and authorities in metropolitan areas. Many previous empirical evidences suggest that fragmented governments are able to collaborate to share information even in the highly competitive economic development arena. This situation makes local officials in metro areas confront inevitable trade-offs between the potential benefits of interdependent policy action and uncertainties around selective incentives of participating governments. Especially, elected officials' aversion to risk and short time horizons make them sensitive to possibilities of being misled by wrong or irrelevant information.The authors contend that elected officials seek partners embedded in a structure of relationships that can reduce the political risks of collaboration as well as provide information, commitment that is necessary to overcome the barriers to collective action. The authors apply an exponential random graph (p*) model to test if certain hypothesized network structures are more likely to emerge in self-organizing economic development networks among local elected officials. The results generally confirm that when there are greater commitment risks to collaboration, the actors are more likely to create mechanisms that can enhance trustworthiness to resolve cooperative problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-262
Number of pages22
JournalUrban Affairs Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010


  • Exponential Random Graph Model (ERGM)
  • Institutional Collective Action (ICA)
  • coordination and cooperation
  • network embeddedness
  • political risks


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