Evaluating the Outcomes of Co-production in Local Government

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New Public Governance assumes that co-production leads to beneficial out- comes, such as increased efficiency and better citizen well-being. However, few empirical studies have documented these outcomes, and some have demon- strated that the assumed outcomes do not emerge. This study establishes that co-production is a complex, social phenomenon, which implies that there cannot be a clear cause-effect relationship between co-production activities and their outcomes. To qualify and enable further empirical investigation of the outcomes of co-production, the study proposes that contribution analysis should be applied as an appropriate evaluation paradigm to theoretically reduce complexity and define a generic programme theory for co-production. The study also discusses how the creation and operationalisation of a local co- production programme theory can take place to evaluate the relationship between co-production initiatives and outcomes on a localised level. Finally, directions are provided for how the outcomes of co-production can be co- evaluated with citizens.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLocal Government Studies
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)169-185
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Co-production
  • co-evaluation
  • programme theory
  • effects
  • outcomes


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