Daniel Cheng

Assistant Professor
public management; nonprofit and NGO management; civic engagement and public participation; collaborative governance; local government

Yuan (Daniel) Cheng is currently an assistant professor in the Leadership & Management area in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. He was a visiting assistant professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Bloomington from 2017 to 2018. 

Daniel's research agenda is focused on a range of theoretical and managerial questions lying at the nexus of governance, government-nonprofit relationships, co-production, and the distributional and performance implications of cross-sector collaboration. He is particularly interested in how government agencies, nonprofits, and citizens interact in joint public service provision, and the performance implications of alternative service provision mechanisms. His most recent work examines the processes and consequences of nonprofits becoming important players in creating and financing public services, using evidence from parks and recreation services in large U.S. cities. 

Daniel is currently extending his research on collaboration and government-nonprofit relationships in a number of areas. Current research projects include a study investigating how collaboration with government agencies and nonprofit organizations shape local governments' engagement in planning for climate change adaptation, an investigation into the determinants of local governments engaging in different forms of coproduction in public service provision, a project tracking how the shift from the contracting model to the collaborative governance model changes government-nonprofit relationships, and a set of studies that explore the performance and distributional consequences of government-nonprofit partnerships. Daniel also begins to extend his research inquiries in non-Western settings which includes a project examining the dual role of transparency and government ties in shaping Chinese foundations' resource mobilization capacities. Overall, his research agenda is driven by the goal of better understanding the impact of nonprofit organizations in shaping public service provision, especially in situations where nonprofits are beyond the "tools" of government. 

Daniel received his BS in Environmental Science from Zhejiang University in China where he was also a Morningside Scholar. After one year of service in rural China for two Chinese NGOs, Daniel came abroad and obtained his MA in Philanthropic Studies and PhD in Public Affairs from Indiana University. 

Selected Writings

Gazley, B., LaFontant, C., and Cheng, Y. (2020). Does Coproduction of Public Services Support Government’s Social Equity Goals? The Case of U.S. State. Online first at Public Administration Review.

Cheng, Y. (2020). Bridging the Great Divide: Toward a Comparative Understanding of Coproduction. Online first at Journal of Chinese Governance (lead editorial paper). 

Cheng, Y. (2019). Exploring the Role of Nonprofits in Public Service Provision: Moving from Coproduction to Cogovernance. Public Administration Review, 79: 203-214.

Cheng, Y. (2019). Governing Public-Nonprofit Partnerships: Linking Governance Mechanisms to Collaboration StagesPublic Performance & Management Review, 42:1, 190-212. 

Cheng, Y., Yang, L. (2019). Providing Public Services without Relying Heavily on Government Funding: How do Nonprofits Respond to Government Budget Cuts? American Review of Public Administration, 49:6, 675-688.

Cheng, Y. (2019). Nonprofit Spending and Government Provision of Public Services: Testing Theories of Government-Nonprofit Relationships. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 29:2, 238-254.

Gazley, B., and Cheng, Y. (2019). Integrating Coproduction Theory into Voluntary Sector Theories: Implications for Chinese Governance. Online First at Journal of Chinese Governance.

Cheng, Y. (2018). Stuart C. Mendel and Jeffery L. Brudney: Partnerships the Nonprofit Way: What Matters, What Doesn't. Online First at Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations.

Gazley, B., Cheng, Y., and LaFontant, C. (2018). Charitable Support for U.S. National and State Parks: Through the Lens of Coproduction and Government Failure Theories. Online First at Nonprofit Policy Forum

In The Media

Assistant Professor Daniel Cheng is interviewed for this story examining the increasing role of nonprofit organizations in providing public services in Canada's Yukon territory. 

CBC News, Canada
March 11, 2020