Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Poster Paper: Identifying and Evaluating Predictors of New York City Service Requests

Saturday, November 14, 2015
Riverfront South/Central (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Christopher Ross Eshleman, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Jonathan L Auerbach, Columbia University
This project involves identifying the factors explaining individuals’ propensity to use municipal systems set up to field public complaints and requests. Specifically, it will explain the factors beneath the use of the 311 system in New York City.

That 311 data is part of the broader portfolio of publicly accessible data the City of New York tries (and, to a degree, succeeds) to make easily accessible to the layman. The 311 data set, one of the largest on the City’s open data portal, isn’t the only data to be used for this project. But it will be a central component.

Explorations of 311 data suggest that the use of 311 does not correlate strongly with the need for actual service requests; this work will investigate and explain that discrepancy. It will bind a handful of data sets – 311 requests, a city-wide tree census, work orders carried out by the City’s parks department, storm data, and the Census Bureau’s 2014 tract planning database.

This work will investigate various identification strategies in the economics literature with spatial autocorrelation and omitted variable bias being a primary concern. The goal will be to identify key causes of disparities between calls for service and the actual need for service.