Journal of Behavioral Public Administration 2021-01-03T18:56:10+00:00 Sebastian Jilke Open Journal Systems <p><em>Journal of Behavioral Public Administration (JBPA)</em> is a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary open access journal that focuses on behavioral and experimental research in public administration, broadly defined.&nbsp; JBPA encourages submissions of both basic scholarly and applied work conducted by academics or practitioners.</p> Editorial: Continuity and change 2021-01-03T18:56:10+00:00 Sebastian Jilke 2021-01-13T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2021 Good for you or good for us? A field experiment on motivating citizen behavior change 2020-08-24T18:17:11+00:00 Syon P. Bhanot <p>In recent years, public sector agencies have increasingly been moving citizen services online to reduce administrative burdens for citizens and costs for governments. However, motivating citizens to make the transition to online services can be difficult. In this paper, I report on a randomized control trial with the Philadelphia Licenses and Inspections Department, testing a letter intervention with 11,579 rental license holders designed to encourage them to register for an account and renew online. Subjects were randomly assigned to either a control group that did not receive a letter or one of three treatment groups: 1) Standard (a simple reminder letter); 2) Personal Benefits (a letter with added language emphasizing the reduced burden for citizens from online renewal); and 3) City Benefits (a letter with added language emphasizing the benefits to the city from online renewal). I find a statistically significant, positive effect of letter receipt on both online registration and renewal; for example, the treatment letters increased the probability of renewing at least one license online from 12.3% in the control to 20.4% for the treatments pooled together. Furthermore, the City Benefits letter was the least effective treatment, though there were only small differences between treatments. Finally, the letters were generally more effective for subjects not residing in Philadelphia, suggesting that “nudge” campaigns to reduce administrative burden may be most effective for those facing the highest burdens from in-person public service delivery.</p> 2020-12-29T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 What makes us tolerant of administrative burden? Race, representation, and identity 2020-08-09T16:24:22+00:00 Donavon Johnson Alexander Kroll <p>This article connects the literatures of administrative burden with those of representative bureaucracy and group identity. We derive two hypotheses from extant scholarship that, adapted to the case of administrative burden, propose the following: Citizens will be more tolerant of burden if their race identity overlaps with that of the bureaucrat administering the burden, and if potential benefits are targeted at people who are similar to them. Using a survey experiment based on a stratified sample of 465 U.S. residents, we find little support for the hypotheses. In fact, while Black participants barely responded to the treatments at all, we see that white participants were most tolerant of burden when served by a white bureaucrat in a program that benefits Black clients. The article calls for more research on the subject to build nuanced theory, including contextualizing propositions across identity groups and drawing on additional theoretical ideas.</p> 2020-12-23T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 The role of organized groups in administrative burdens of property taxation 2020-09-08T12:42:41+00:00 Iuliia Shybalkina <p>There is a substantial body of literature regarding the effects of administrative burdens on the take-up of safety-net programs and the role of organized groups in this process. I investigate similar issues in the context of property tax assessment appeals. Disadvantaged groups spend well over the recommended 30% of their income on housing costs that include property tax, and, on top of that, assessors often overestimate lower-value properties. Appeals may provide some relief, but the process can be burdensome. Certain localities give condominium associations the right to file one joint appeal on behalf of all unit owners. I hypothesize that this rule reduces burdens for condominium units and causes them to appeal more frequently than houses, resulting in a distributive effect that depends on the local context. I present supporting evidence from two case studies in two locations: New York City, which allows joint appeals, and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh and surroundings), which does not. Thus, while administrative burdens can span diverse contexts, engaging a third party to assist potential beneficiaries consistently increases the take-up.</p> 2020-12-23T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 Personality traits in citizen expectations towards public services 2020-08-04T15:02:08+00:00 Morten Hjortskov <p>Prior expectations are an important determining factor of how citizens evaluate politicians, government and public services. Typically, citizen expectations are divided into two main categories: predictive (“will”) expectations and normative (“should”) expectations. Theories of expectations say that predictive expectations are the sterile and indifferent prediction of future events, while normative expectations have a foundation in personal norms and values and express how the world should look according to the individual. Therefore, normative expectations should have antecedents more closely related to the individual’s personality than predictive expectations. However, these theoretical claims regarding the nature of the two different expectation types have not yet been tested empirically. Examining broad personality traits (Big Five) and The Maximizing Tendency trait, this exploratory study analyzes whether different personality antecedents explain the two types of expectations. Results show that the personality traits agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness correlate positively, and extraversion negatively, with normative expectations. None of the traits correlate with predictive expectations. These results have implications for politicians’ efforts to shape citizens’ expectations, the citizen satisfaction literature, including work considering the expectation-disconfirmation model, and for further research on citizen expectations.</p> 2020-12-23T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 Compared to whom? Social and historical reference points and performance appraisals by managers, students, and the general public 2020-08-24T23:45:13+00:00 Amanda Rutherford Thomas Rabovsky Megan Darnley <p>Experimental studies in public administration often focus on samples of non-practitioner groups. In these cases, it is unclear whether findings from non-practitioner groups are generalizable to public managers. Some literature suggests that bureaucrats are likely to hold biases similar to the rest of the population while other research argues that bureaucratic expertise and training allow practitioners to make decisions in more strategic or rational ways. This study works within the literature of performance information to test for differences in responses to the same experiment among college students, citizens, and public managers in the context of U.S. K-12 education. Some differences were detected across groups, though results reveal largely similar findings which have implications for when and how scholars might rely on non-practitioner samples to consider the attitudes and behaviors of bureaucrats or elected policymakers.</p> 2020-12-23T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020