NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Cities' Services Ranked In Report

May 29, 2001

In a comprehensive report, the Reason Public Policy Institute ranks America's largest city governments according to how efficiently they deliver services. The report -- which took nearly three years to complete -- sought to determine how efficiently cities deliver public services, as well as to evaluate how accessible such information was to the public.

Among the findings:

  • Phoenix was ranked most efficient and held that position each year between 1995-1998.
  • Los Angeles ranked least efficient and held that position each year between 1994-96 -- but improved in 1997 and 1998.
  • Beside Phoenix, other cities which scored high in terms of efficiency were El Paso, Tulsa, Memphis, Nashville, San Diego and Dallas.
  • RPPI makes the point that it did not attempt to leverage special arrangements with cities for the information it sought -- but acted as normal citizens interested in the performance of city governments.

As a result, some cities were more forthcoming than others.

RPPI reports that Phoenix and San Diego were most responsive to their requests for information. But the institute was unable to evaluate six cities -- including Chicago and New York -- because their data were incomplete or inconsistent.

RPPI found that cities with comprehensive public data and easy access to it tended to perform better than cities that hadn't bothered to collect it or were recalcitrant.

Source: Adrian T. Moore, James Nolan and Geoffrey F. Segal, with Matthew Taylor, "Competitive Cities: A Report Card on Efficiency in Service Delivery in America's Largest Cities," May 2001; Reason Public Policy Institute, 3415 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 400, Los Angeles, Calif. 90034-6064, (310) 391-4395.


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