University of Michigan Gateway Ford School

The Michigan Public Policy Survey


The Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS) is a program of state-wide surveys of local government leaders in Michigan. The MPPS is designed to fill an important information gap in the policymaking process. While there are ongoing surveys of the business community and of the citizens of Michigan, before the MPPS there were no ongoing surveys of local government officials that were representative of all general purpose local governments in the state. Therefore, although we knew the policy priorities and views of the state's businesses and citizens, we knew very little about the views of the local officials who are so important to the economies and community life throughout Michigan.

The MPPS was launched in 2009 by the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) at the University of Michigan and is conducted in partnership with the Michigan Association of Counties, Michigan Municipal League, and Michigan Townships Association. The surveys investigate local officials' opinions and perspectives on a variety of important public policy issues and solicit factual information about their localities relevant to policymaking. Over time, the survey has covered issues such as fiscal, budgetary and operational policy, fiscal health, public sector compensation, workforce development, local-state governmental relations, intergovernmental collaboration, economic development strategies and initiatives such as placemaking and economic gardening, the role of local government in environmental sustainability, opinions on the impacts of the Federal Stimulus Program (ARRA), and more. The program will investigate many other issues relevant to local and state policy in the future.

How often does the MPPS take place?
The MPPS is conducted twice per year, once in spring and once in fall. Spring surveys contain several batteries of "core" fiscal, budgetary, and operational policy questions that get asked each year, thereby building up a time-series of data on fundamental issues and allowing tracking of change and continuity over time. Fall surveys target specific unique topics such as workforce development, intergovernmental collaboration, performance measurement and management, etc.

When was the MPPS launched?
The first MPPS survey, which focused on fiscal and economic development issues, was in the field from late April through mid-June, 2009.

How is the MPPS funded?
The first two waves, and the overall launch phase, of the MPPS was funded by both internal CLOSUP funds as well as a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Since then MPPS activities have been funded primarily by internal funds. Future activities are planned to be funded by combinations of internal CLOSUP funds and sponsored funds from foundations and other interested organizations.

Who will use the MPPS?
The MPPS serves a wide-range of stakeholders in Michigan, including local and state policymakers, nonprofit organizations, foundations, citizen groups, the media and the academic research and teaching community.

What does the MPPS do?
The surveys:

How can you get involved?
We are eager to hear your ideas about the surveys: the key issues or questions that should be included, the general topics that should be covered, the types of analysis and reports that would be most useful. If you would like to share your input, please use contact Debra Horner at 734-647-4091 or by email to

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University of Michigan Gateway Ford School Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy