Antonio F. Tavares

University of Minho
International Relations and Public Administration

School of Economics and Management
University of Minho
4710-057 |  Visit Personal Website

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António Tavares is associate professor w/ habilitation at the Department of International Relations and Public Administration at the University of Minho, Braga, Portugal. He is co-editor of the Urban Affairs Review, the journal affiliated with the Urban Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. His research interests comprise topics in the fields of local government and urban politics, including territorial reforms, regional governance, service delivery, and political and civic engagement. He teaches Local Government, Theories of the Policy Process, and Public Policy Analysis and Evaluation and is involved in professional training for upper level civil servants in the fields of public policy and administration.

da Cruz, N. F., Tavares, A. F., Marques, R. C., Jorge, S., & de Sousa, L. 2016. "Measuring Local Government Transparency." Public Management Review, 18(6): 866–893.
Abstract: Despite the importance of government transparency to promote accountability and prevent maladministration, empirical research has failed to produce proper tools to assess and compare government transparency practices. Most contributions to the topic do not address it from a stakeholder’s perspective, particularly in selecting the indicators to include in transparency indexes. This paper contributes to the debate by developing a municipal transparency index based on information available on local government official websites. The methodological approach borrows insights from the decision analysis literature to structure the index through a participatory process. An application to the Portuguese local government setting is briefly discussed.
Tavares, António F. and Miguel Rodrigues. 2015. “The Economic and Territorial Impacts of Top-Down Territorial Reforms: The Case of Portuguese Parishes.” Local Government Studies 41(6): 956-976.
Abstract: The main objective of this manuscript is to test two competing hypotheses from the regionalism/localism literature regarding local government size. The Leviathan hypothesis argues that fragmentation induces lower spending through more decentralised government structures which are smaller relative to the size of the local economy. This argument is in sharp opposition with the supporters of regionalism who argue that territorial centralisation can produce economies of scale and significant cost savings, reduce overlaps and promote a more efficient local government. These competing hypotheses derived from the literature are tested using data collected from all 278 local governments of continental Portugal. We measure local government size as both per capita total expenditures and per capita grant transfers to sub-city governments and territorial fragmentation as the number of sub-city governments per 1,000 individuals. Our findings indicate that higher levels of sub-city fragmentation lead to increased municipal government spending and transfers to sub-city governments, thus suggesting that the amalgamation of sub-city governments required by the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2011 by the Portuguese government, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank and mandated by national legislation has the potential to induce cost savings and to improve financial sustainability.
Tavares, António F. and Miguel A. Rodrigues. 2013. From Civil Servants to Liberal Professionals: An Empirical Analysis of the Reform of Portuguese Notaries. International Review of Administrative Sciences 79 (2): 347-367.
Abstract: The use of market mechanisms has been progressively introduced as an alternative solution to public service delivery since the 1980s. This work addresses an uncommon public service function – civil law notaries – and seeks to analyse the factors that led to the formation of diverse market structures as a result of the choice of the privatization path over civil service status by public notaries. The Portuguese government gave public notaries the choice of becoming private, and regulated a numerus clausus of notaries by district. Since the reform was completed, a diversity of market structures have prevailed throughout the 278 notarial districts. Our key hypothesis is that markets with multiple agents formed in jurisdictions having a larger and more profitable number of notary and legal acts that provided financial survival and profit. In contrast, monopolies formed as a result of a perceived absence of market opportunities and demand. During the period 2010–11 we collected data from official statistics of the notary system supplemented by data on the economic and demographic features of each jurisdiction. Multinomial logistic regression is used to test the key hypothesis regarding market arrangements in the 278 notarial districts of continental Portugal. Points for practitioners The trend in the deregulation of the notary profession is likely to continue to sweep European Union countries. Lessons can be drawn from the Portuguese experience, where the change from civil service status is not yet mandatory for all notaries, but financial constraints and fiscal pressures indicate privatization as the inevitable path.
DOI: doi: 10.1177/0020852313477776
Tavares, António F. and Jered B. Carr. 2013. So Close, Yet So Far Away? The Effects of City Size, Density, and Growth on Local Civic Participation. Journal of Urban Affairs 35 (3): 283-302.
Abstract: Recent studies in the U.S. context have suggested that political participation is a function of the size and concentration of a city's population. Most of this research focuses on the idea that there is an optimal size and concentration of population that favors active political participation in terms of a higher propensity to vote in local elections, contact local officials, and attend community meetings. The conventional argument suggests a negative relationship between city size and political participation that is mitigated to some extent by the deeper social interactions generated by increased population density. We extend this research by also investigating the influence of population growth on the broader concept of civic participation. Civic participation is a multidimensional concept that requires the use of a broad set of indicators. We expand the number of measures to gauge civic participation at the local level by including data on the formation of volunteer associations, volunteer fire brigades and not-for-profit organizations as well as voter turnout. We test the hypotheses derived from extant research using aggregate data collected from Portuguese cities and discuss the implications of our findings for the literature on local civic participation.
Carr, Jered B. and António F. Tavares. 2014. City Size and Political Participation in Local Government: Reassessing the Contingent Effects of Residential Location Decisions within Urban Regions. Urban Affairs Review 50 (2): 269-302.
Abstract: J. Eric Oliver’s finding that city size influences the political participation of residents has been challenged by studies suggesting that differences in population density within cities and how the population is distributed across cities within regions may moderate any negative effects of city size. We analyze these propositions of contingent effects by examining self-reported participation activities from a random sample of residents from the state of Michigan in the summer of 2005. Our findings confirm the importance of the conditional effects of population density on the relationship between city size and political participation. The support provided by our analysis for the other contingent factors is more mixed.
Rodrigues, Miguel, António Tavares, J. Filipe Araújo. 2012. "Municipal Service Delivery: The Role of Transaction Costs in the Choice between Alternative Governance Mechanisms." Local Government Studies 38 (5): 615-638.
Abstract: Service provision by local governments can be delivered using in-house bureaucracies, private firms, and partnerships with other governments or the not-for-profit sector. This production decision has been a major focus of discussion among scholars, practitioners and political agents for the last quarter of a century. The transaction costs framework is an important tool to analyse decisions regarding the production of local services. In this paper, the authors employ this framework to analyse service delivery in Portugal and find that service characteristics and the local political environment play a key role in local officials' choice among the three governance mechanisms to deliver public services.
DOI: 10.1080/03003930.2012.666211
Tavares, Antonio, and Pedro Camoes. 2010. "New Forms of Local Governance: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Municipal Corporations in Portugal." Public Management Review 12 (5): 587-608.
Abstract: This article seeks to identify which factors lead local governments to use corporate public sector organizations, particularly municipal corporations, for service delivery. The authors argue that local officials trade off bureaucratic costs of in-house production with agency costs of external delegation tornmunicipal corporations when deciding how to deliver local public services. Econometric models are employed to test this explanation for the adoption of municipal corporations by 278 Portuguese local governments. The results indicate that organizational size, financial independency and fiscal surplus,rnas well as ideological concerns and the activity of local interest groups, drive choices of local governance structures.rnKeywords: Governance structures, municipal corporation, public authority, service delivery, transaction costs.

Substantive Focus:
Governance SECONDARY
Urban Public Policy PRIMARY

Theoretical Focus:
Agenda-Setting, Adoption, and Implementation PRIMARY
Policy Analysis and Evaluation SECONDARY