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RESEARCH

Ongoing Projects

All Research

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Research Brief

Understanding the priorities of local policymakers in California

February 21, 2024
Public safety and economic development top the list for local governments, but additional variation can be seen at the regional level.
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Research Brief

Workplace Relationships Among Local Elected Officials: What Would You Do?

January 31, 2024
Do officials feel obligated to report a colleague’s secret relationship? The answer from a national survey of local officials may surprise you...
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Research Brief

Consequences of Hostility on Local Governance

January 31, 2024
Addressing pervasive hostility to local officials and the impact on democratic governance.
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Partner Report

Intimidation of State and Local Officeholders: The Threat to Democracy

January 25, 2024
This detailed report from the Brennan Center for Justice dives deep into the issue of threats and harassment against local and state government officials using data from our recurring surveys on the topic.
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Research Brief

Diversity of Local Government Finance Staff and Leadership

December 29, 2023
Finance staff in local governments are becoming more diverse. Will leadership follow suit?
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Research Brief

Local Government Priorities Across the Urban-Rural Divide

December 29, 2023
While several priorities are shared across population sizes, differences sharpen when it comes to parks, walkability, and service provision.
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Research Brief

Update on Local Government News Deserts

November 30, 2023
While more reporters are attending governing board meetings than two years ago, overall coverage remains low.
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Research Brief

Local Perspectives on State Preemption

November 30, 2023
While local officials generally oppose state intervention, opinions are more split on some issues than others.
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Research Brief

How Hostility is Affecting Both Parties

November 30, 2023
Incidence of threats, harassment, and violence in politics is not going away and it’s affecting local leaders across the political spectrum.
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Research Report

Local Government Threats and Harassment Benchmarking Report

November 30, 2023
In the last three months, the rate of harassment of local officials has measurably increased. Incidence of insults, threats, and attacks have remained high.
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Research Brief

How local governments prioritize business development differently across communities

October 31, 2023
Local governments vary greatly across the United States in how much effort they make to attract business to their communities.
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Research Brief

The Cost of Local Government Leadership

September 26, 2023
Local elected officials are experiencing high rates of harassment and threats, especially women and minorities.
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Research Brief

Opioid epidemic could bridge different communities

August 18, 2023
CivicPulse survey of local elected officials shows opioid epidemic spans party and population divides.
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Research Brief

Benchmarking remote work in state and local government

June 30, 2023
Whether public sector employers offer remote work varies widely by department, with key implications for competitiveness and retention.
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Research Brief

What local elected officials in Pennsylvania prioritize in the power sector

June 30, 2023
Pennsylvania provides key insight into the renewable energy transition and the priorities of local officials.
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Research Brief

Sources of uncertainty in local policymaking

June 30, 2023
Uncertain economics and increasingly divided government increases stress for local officials.
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Partner Report

In Their Own Words: Threats and Harassment Facing Local Officials

May 25, 2023
Building upon a recurring CivicPulse survey on threats and harassment toward local elected officials, the Bridging Divides Initiative conducted follow-up interviews with respondents who opted-in to further discussion. This report features the key findings from those interviews.
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Research Brief

Local policymakers’ hopes and concerns about the transition to clean energy

March 23, 2023
Local officials worry whether the federal government will make good on its promise not to leave behind fossil-fuel dependent communities.
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Research Brief

How Local Elected Officials Navigate Experiences of Hostility on Social Media

February 28, 2023
Elected officials say social media hostility is a major problem, but they’re reluctant to have the government get involved.
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Research Brief

The role of DEI in the public sector hiring experience

February 20, 2023
The growing adoption of DEI practices in public sector hiring could improve candidate satisfaction and, ultimately, retention.
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Research Brief

What can moral psychology teach our elected officials?

February 20, 2023
Understanding how liberal and conservative policymakers differ in their moral beliefs could provide insights into navigating polarization.
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Research Brief

How can the public sector hiring experience be improved?

January 30, 2023
The hiring experience in the public sector is known to be subpar. Our latest research disentangles what aspects need the most work.
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Research Brief

High Rates of Harassment and Threats May Deter Entry Into Local Politics

December 14, 2022
Local elected officials experience high rates of harassment and threats, especially minorities.
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Research Brief

Two policy domains where local governments can make a difference

October 28, 2022
Survey of officials points to two programs that local governments can implement that are popular, feasible and enjoy bipartisan support.
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Research Brief

Opposition to state preemption brings local policymakers together

October 28, 2022
Local policymakers from both parties oppose efforts by state governments to limit their powers, especially in the wake of the pandemic.
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Partner Report

Meeting Demand for State and Local Public Finance Jobs

September 30, 2022
This report from GFOA and Lightcast assesses the state of public sector finance employment. The report draws on demographic benchmarking of local government financial leadership conducted by CivicPulse earlier this year.
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Research Brief

Insights on authenticity and burnout from local government executives

September 29, 2022
Emotional authenticity may be a key component of avoiding burnout in local government.
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Research Brief

Understanding the value of benchmarking for local governments

August 25, 2022
While some challenges local governments face are unique to their particular communities, many are ones being experienced across the...
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Research Brief

Unique challenges of economic development in small-town governments

June 29, 2022
Limitations to staffing and broadband access increase urban-rural inequities in local governments’ ability to recruit businesses.
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Research Report

Representation of Women in Local Government Financial Leadership

June 5, 2022
New data release of the gender composition of the top finance/budgeting officials in over 21,000
local governments shows women are well represented in this important leadership position.
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Research Brief

Quality of life top priority for local policymakers in making zoning decisions

May 27, 2022
Local policymakers tend to prioritize quality of life even above economic growth when making zoning decisions.
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Research Brief

Dismal levels of media coverage of local government board meetings

April 30, 2022
Nearly half of all local governing board meetings in the United States receive no journalistic coverage.
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Research Brief

Many local governments support more transparency in reporting business development incentives

March 25, 2022
Nearly half of local governments do not publicly report incentives offered to businesses, but many support increasing transparency efforts.
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Research Report

Women Representation Among Top Appointed Officials in Local Government

March 16, 2022
New data on the gender composition of local government top appointed officials reveals fewer than one in three local leaders are women.
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Research Brief

Where are local governments prioritizing their elders?

February 25, 2022
There are regional differences in the degree to which local policymakers report prioritizing the needs of older Americans.
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Research Brief

Is honesty the best policy? How local policymakers communicate Covid risks

January 31, 2022
Local policymakers think it is more acceptable to overstate than understate Covid risks, but most are committed to the unvarnished truth.
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Research Brief

The digital divide between small towns and big cities

December 29, 2021
While the pandemic has accelerated the deployment of digital technologies in government, smaller local communities are being left behind.
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Research Brief

What effect is the Great Resignation having on local government? 

November 29, 2021
Hiring difficulties are prevalent across all local government departments.
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Research Report

2021 Software Adoption Trends in Local Government

November 10, 2021
In CivicPulse’s second annual report in this series, we show that public safety departments continue to lead the way in software acquisition. Meanwhile, there has been an overall decline in the prioritization of software in local government since the beginning of the pandemic.
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Research Brief

Vaccine mandates uncommon for most local governments

October 28, 2021
A new survey from CivicPulse shows that fewer than 5% of local governments have implemented a vaccine mandate for their employees.
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Research Report

IT Trends in Local Government: A National Survey of Local Decision Makers

September 29, 2021
 In July 2021, CivicPulse surveyed a national sample of 584 local government officials to identify trends in IT in the wake of Covid-19 and to better understand their priorities looking ahead to 2022.  
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Research Brief

Problem or solution? Cybersecurity and cloud-based “software as a service” in local government

August 30, 2021
CivicPulse fielded a survey of 584 local government leaders involved in IT decision-making in July 2021 and conducted eleven in-depth...
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Research Brief

Local policymaker views on adopting artificial intelligence (AI) technology

July 29, 2021
A CivicPulse Research Spotlight The quickly-evolving world of artificial intelligence (AI) technology is transforming life as we know it....
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Research Brief

What Have Been the Challenges in Spending Coronavirus Relief Funding?

July 28, 2021
Billions of dollars in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) are beginning to make their way to local governments around the country, but the money comes with strings attached. The administrative requirements mandated by ARPA have compelled some smaller governments to forego the funds entirely due to a lack of capacity.
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Research Report

Local Priorities for Infrastructure: What Do Local Governments Want?

June 15, 2021
What do local government policymakers want in a new infrastructure bill? CivicPulse surveyed over 400 local government officials to ask the infrastructure priorities for their local communities. The survey showed strong support for the inclusion of funding for roads, water, electricity, and broadband. In contrast, support for mass transit was limited to larger cities, and support for clean energy was highly divided by partisanship.
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Research Brief

What’s the Most Pressing Issue in Local Government in 2021?

May 25, 2021
In a year where businesses had to shut their doors, millions of Americans hunkered down at home, and many took to the streets in a variety of protests, we wanted to see how the priorities of local elected officials had been shaped by these events.
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Research Report

The New Normal Survey: COVID’s Lasting Legacy on Local Government

May 1, 2021
CivicPulse partnered with The Atlas, Engaging Local Government Leaders, CivicPlus, and RouteFifty to survey of local government officials about the lasting impacts of COVID-19 on their governments. Close to 600 survey respondents provided their views on how their government has responded to the pandemic, and what changes are likely to remain.
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Research Brief

Local Governments Plan to Expand Broadband Access

April 27, 2021
Millions of Americans are cut off from high-speed internet – and from crucial parts of society. How are local governments filling the gap?
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Research Report

COVID-19 Relief Funding for Local Government

March 5, 2021
What are the priorities for the new round of relief funding that local governments may receive in 2021? CivicPulse, in collaboration with Stanford University’s Bill Lane Center for the American West, surveyed 494 local government officials to ask about the status of existing COVID-19 relief funding and where future funds might be spent. With new funds on the horizon, local governments are still spending existing funds and see priorities shifting and broadening.
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Research Brief

Who leads local government?

February 25, 2021
Given the central role local government plays in our democracy, it’s remarkable how little work has been done to document who leads these organizations. Through random-sample surveys drawn from the 90,000+ key policymakers who lead these governments, CivicPulse has begun to fill the gap in our knowledge about these individuals.
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