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Police Services, Local Public Economics, and The Theory of Fiscal Attention

Summary:
Two of my close colleagues and research partners -- Jayme Lemke and Liya Palagashvili -- have a great video out on the issue of community policing. [embedded content] We have been working on these issues of community policing, local public economics, and the theory of fiscal attention together for well over a decade.  There is an old idiom that goes as follows: "He who pays the piper calls the tune."  This basic idea is critical to understanding the rise and fall of community policing, and was developed in a paper that Ennio Piano, Liya and I published in the Arizona State Law Journal.  Of course, the fundamental issue -- as the Ostroms both identified in the 1960s-19970s in their work on local public economics -- is the pricing and provision of public goods and the public choice

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Two of my close colleagues and research partners -- Jayme Lemke and Liya Palagashvili -- have a great video out on the issue of community policing.

We have been working on these issues of community policing, local public economics, and the theory of fiscal attention together for well over a decade.  There is an old idiom that goes as follows: "He who pays the piper calls the tune."  This basic idea is critical to understanding the rise and fall of community policing, and was developed in a paper that Ennio Piano, Liya and I published in the Arizona State Law Journal.  Of course, the fundamental issue -- as the Ostroms both identified in the 1960s-19970s in their work on local public economics -- is the pricing and provision of public goods and the public choice logic involved.  And, their unique twist in the Ostromian research program, as Jayme, Liya and I argued in our 2015 RAE paper, was to explicitly tie this logic to the problems and prospects of a self-governing democratic society.   And critical to this idea is their idea of co-production.

Jayme, Liya and I published a paper in 2013 dealing with this issue of co-production of public safety and community policing titled "Riding in Cars with Boys", where we talk about Lin Ostrom's field work on police services. This was followed up with our 2016 publication on "Re-evaluating Community Policing".

The consolidation debate is addressed in my work with Chris Coyne and Peter Leeson on Quasimarket Failure.  And, in the particular context of community policing it is vital to consider the consequences of the drug war on this discussion, as addressed in my paper with Chris Coyne and Abby Hall.

Many of these themes are also discussed in my Southern Economic Association Presidential Address -- Economics and Public Administration. And, of course, the Ostroms and their contributions to public administration, political economy, and social philosophy has been a constant theme of my work with Paul Aligica and Vlad Tarko from the 1990s to our forthcoming book -- jointly and separately.

These issues are foundational to understanding the frustration experienced with progressive efforts to professionalize local public economics and can when combined with various normative commitments lead to a deep appreciation of self-government, democratic deliberation, and liberty.

Peter Boettke
Peter Joseph Boettke (January 3, 1960) is an American economist of the Austrian School. He is currently a University Professor of Economics and Philosophy at George Mason University; the BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism, Vice President for Research, and Director of the F.A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at GMU.

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