Measuring street cleanliness: A comparison of New York city's scorecard and results from a citizen survey

Gregg G. Van Ryzin, Stephen Immerwahr, Stan Altman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Public administrators at the local level often rely on citizen surveys to measure the outcomes or accomplishments of their service delivery efforts. However, many remain skeptical about the value of survey-based measures of local government performance, in large part because of the low empirical correlation between objective and subjective performance measures reported in the literature. Using data from New York City's street cleanliness scorecard, a well-established outcome measure, combined with responses from more than 4,000 respondents to a citizen survey, the authors find a clear and consistent correlation between the scorecard and citizen ratings of street cleanliness in their neighborhoods. Moreover, the street cleanliness scorecard is a much stronger predictor of citizen ratings than demographic factors, trust in government, or contextual effects. These results demonstrate that citizen judgments about government performance can correspond closely with more objectively measured outcomes - and that citizen surveys can provide valid and useful performance measures, at least for some local government services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-303
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Administration Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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