CFP: Coproduction of Public Services

Call for papers for the IIAS Study Group on ‘Coproduction of Public Services’
Bergamo (Italy), 20 -21 May 2014

The IIAS Study Group on ‘Coproduction of Public Services’ is organizing its second open meeting. Our aim is to create and nurture an intellectual platform for the theoretical discussion and empirical analysis of coproduction and its implications for the organization and management of public services.

Topic

Coproduction refers to the involvement of both citizens and public sector professionals in the delivery of public services. Although countries differ in the extent to which citizens play a role in the provision of public services, the idea of coproduction is gaining ground around the world. Financial crises, austerity in public finances, and growing doubts about the legitimacy of both the public sector and the market, have led numerous governments to involve and cooperate with citizens and civil society in the production of public services. Unfortunately, practice is leading both theory and research, and there is a need to bring together theoretical insights and empirical data to enable a better understanding of public service coproduction. Specifically, this study group is interested in:

1. Coproduction in different national and policy contexts. What ideological and normative stances about the role of government shape the debate on coproduction? What variations are seen across the policy fields in which coproduction takes place? What variations are seen in national (western and non-western) structures of service provision, and what factors explain this variation?

2. The organization and structure of public service organizations. Do existing structures enhance or work against coproduction? How can public service organizations be better structured to utilize coproduction processes and approaches?

3. Challenges of coproduction for the work of public sector professionals. How can professionals find ways to meaningfully interact with people using and coproducing services? What are the (dis)incentives for professionals in promoting and using coproduction?

4. The role, capacity, and willingness of citizens to engage in coproduction. What characteristics distinguish citizen-coproducers from passive service recipients? What motivates citizens to engage in coproduction?

5. The potential benefits and pitfalls of directly involving citizens in the production of public services. What is the impact of coproduction on efficiency, democratization, responsiveness, accountability of public service delivery?

6. The way in which coproduction is accommodated in public law and/or constitutional law. How do various legal frameworks support (or not) coproduction? How can law be enhanced to further and sustain coproduction activities?

7. The relationship between public spending and coproduction. What financial models can be used to nurture coproduction? Can coproduction compensate for the withdrawal of public spending in times of financial crisis, or does collaboration with citizen-users demand additional resources?

8. What are the implications of a service-recipient/coproducer dominant approach to public services for the further study of public administration? What insights can be brought in from other disciplines, such as political science, law, economics, psychology, sociology and history? What insights can be gathered from complementing research on coproduction with research on active citizenship, service management and customer engagement, or citizen self-organization?

Meeting Format

The meeting will open with keynotes by prof. Elio Borgonovi, Professor of Economics and Management of Public Administration at the Bocconi University and prof. Tony Bovaird, Professor of Public Management and Policy at the University of Birmingham.
The meeting will consist of individual paper presentations and conclude with a round table discussion about the study group’s plan for future intercontinental collaboration in coproduction research.
The goal of the study group is to shed light on the current theory, research, and practice of coproduction. Therefore, we welcome both theoretical and empirical papers on all topics addressed above. We also invite scholars to use a variety of disciplinary analyses: public administration, political science, law, economics, psychology, sociology, and history among others. Interdisciplinary papers are also welcomed.
As a study group of IIAS, we seek to establish an intercontinental discussion, and therefore invite scholars from both western and non-western settings to submit paper abstracts. Submissions are particularly encouraged from doctoral students working on the topic of coproduction.

Output

The study group co-chairs aim at providing outlet for papers presented at the meeting, most likely
through a special issue in an international public administration journal. A special issue of IRAS (International Review of Administrative Sciences) is in process, as a result of the successful first meeting of the study group, which was held in The Hague last May.
Moreover, the study group aims at setting up close intercontinental collaboration among coproduction scholars beyond the scope of this meeting, including the development and sharing a database of international cases on coproduction and strategies to enable effective interaction between professionals and citizen-users in the production of public services. In addition to special issues of international journals, the study group is exploring the possibility of a book project at the closing of its three-year (2013-2015) collaboration.

Date and Location

The meeting of the Study Group on Coproduction of Public Services will take place in Bergamo, Italy from 20 to 21 May 2014.

Cost

The registration fee is 100 Euro. Participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodations.

Submissions

Please submit abstracts (maximum 600 words) by 15th March 2014 to mariafrancesca.sicilia@unibg.it and t.p.s.steen@cdh.leidenuniv.nl
Participants will be notified of acceptance by 31st March. Full papers should be submitted by 10th May.

Organization

The IIAS study group on ‘Coproduction of Public Services’ is co-chaired by Trui Steen (Leiden University, the Netherlands and KU Leuven, Belgium), Tina Nabatchi (Syracuse University, US) and Dirk Brand (University of Stellenbosch, South Africa). The second meeting of the study group is organized by Mariafransesca Sicilia (University of Bergamo, Italy).