School of Public Administration Speaker Series

2016 - 2017

The School of Public Administration Speaker Series features talks by public administration, policy, nonprofit and health scholars and professionals. The series provides a forum for informed discussion and debate of central public, nonprofit and health challenges facing communities today.

Recent Talk:

Levels of Inequality in Municipal Policing

Speaker:          Agustín León-Moreta, Ph.D.

Date:                 Friday, April 21st

Time:                  12:00-1:00 PM

Location:          University of New Mexico - Main Campus, Dane Smith Hall (DSH), Room 132

Email:       by 4/20 to attend online. Instructions will be emailed.



Inequality in policing has become a defining policy problem of our time. Events of recent years have heightened the sense of urgency about policing programs, and concerns persist among the public regarding equality in the performance of those programs. While some municipalities deploy substantial resources for policing, other municipalities deploy minimal resources for public safety programs. What factors determine the provision of policing services?

The importance of this research for theory and practice relates to the central role of policing in American local government and policy. Although policing programs of municipalities are intended to attain public safety, there are continued allegations concerning the proper deployment of policing force in American communities. Allegations include policing bias and inequality, particularly affecting minority groups. The implications for equality are critical.

This presentation will discuss theories of social diversity and the institutional capacity of government. Policing has been traditionally conceptualized a public good; nonetheless, policing has differential effects on communities. While communities benefit from public safety, some groups perceive policing in a less positive manner. This includes socioeconomic and racial minorities, groups that often have a strained relationship with police agencies. Also, if municipalities have a differential ability to finance policing, perceptions of inequalities arise within communities. This raises the question of interactions between socioeconomic conditions and the ability of municipal governments to provide public safety services.

Dr. Leon-Moreta presents an empirical study of determinants of policing resources. He analyzes data from the recent 2012 Census of Governments, a national dataset for police expenditure and staffing of municipalities. He finds that wide inequalities are prevalent: some municipalities allocate substantial resources, whereas other municipalities allocate minimal resources for policing. Inequality in public safety thus motivates an empirical investigation of factors affecting policing programs, inclusive of social and institutional factors. Data for social and institutional factors are assembled from a variety of national sources. Dr. Leon-Moreta employs quantile analysis—an analytic technique of growing usage in the social sciences. Dr. Leon-Moreta finds that socioeconomic and institutional factors are both significant factors underlying inequalities in public safety programs.


Dr. Agustin Leon-MoretaDr. León-Moreta is the winner of the 2016 Paul A. Volcker Award of the American Political Science Association. He is an Assistant Professor in UNM’s School of Public Administration. He is a 2016 UNM Teaching Fellow, awarded for his scholarship on best teaching practices. Dr. Leon-Moreta received his MPA and Ph.D. in Public Administration and Policy from Florida State University. Dr. Leon-Moreta is a former Fulbright Fellow, awarded by the US Department of State. His research has been published in professional journals in the fields of public administration and urban studies. His expertise includes government structure, financing, and service delivery by American municipalities.


The School of Public Administration is pleased to sponsor this talk in partnership with the Public Administration Graduate Student Association (PAGSA) and KUNM Generation Listen student groups.

Past Events:

March 2, 2017
"Government Transparency"

Presented by UNM Regents' Professor Bruce Perlman, experienced compliance officers Kimberly Bell and Tim Korte, and local reporter Chris Ramirez

November 17, 2016
"Local Governance of Water and Sanitation: Meeting the Sustainable Development Goals"

Presented by Dr. Jami Nelson-Nuñez

October 17, 2016
"Findings from the 2015 NM Statewide Nonprofit Survey: Collaboration, Challenges, and Common Good?"

Presented by Dr. Kun Huang and Dr. David Brody