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The influence of management on the cost of fire protection


  • Amy K. Donahue

    (Institute of Public Affairs, Department of Political Science, University of Connecticut)


An important and unresolved issue central to the study of government performance is how the actions of managers and the nature of organizations affect the cost of public services. This paper presents an empirical analysis of fire departments that estimates the influence of managerial choices on per capita spending within a simultaneous public production system. It does so by refining a theoretical cost model from the field of public management to include fundamental dimensions of government organizations and administration. Two-stage least squares regression analysis is then employed to examine the fire protection case. The results of the analysis substantiate the intuition that managerial practices and decisions influence the cost of a public service. They show that the cost of fire protection depends significantly on the outcomes of a department's fire prevention and suppression activities, some key aspects of a department's management practices, the configuration of its workforce and equipment, its legal structure, and factors in its external environment. © 2004 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

Suggested Citation

  • Amy K. Donahue, 2004. "The influence of management on the cost of fire protection," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(1), pages 71-92.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:23:y:2004:i:1:p:71-92
    DOI: 10.1002/pam.10179

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-1177, September.
    2. Murnane, Richard J. & Nelson, Richard R., 1984. "Production and innovation when techniques are tacit : The case of education," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 5(3-4), pages 353-373.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rhys Andrews & Gene A. Brewer, 2010. "Social Capital and Fire Service Performance: Evidence from the U.S. States," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 91(2), pages 576-591.

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