Geographically based intermediary groups in cities, primarily the political party structure and community groups, can potentially affect the distribution of public services to neighborhoods in three ways. First, they can stimulate citizen demands for services, which urban bureaucracies transform into outputs; more demands yield more services. Second, urban service agencies may grant special consideration to demands mediated by the intermediary structures, producing more output per demand for mediated demands. Finally, parties and groups may intervene in neighborhoods to co-produce services, gaining more impact from agency efforts than in neighborhoods not represented by strong intermediary structures.
Using data on citizen complaints, agency outputs and service impacts in neighborhoods, this study of building code enforcement in Chicago finds that the party structure is efficacious at all three stages of the service provision process, but that groups are not effective at any stage.