EMERGENCY RESPONSE SERVICES: The Determinants of the 911 System Adoption


We begin by describing the characteristics of three groups of counties in Pennsylvania: those with no 911, Basic 911, and Enhanced 911- Because four counties are significantly larger, more dense, and have more hospitals than the others, we also report the counties with E911 excluding the four largest counties (we will also report specifications which exclude these four counties in our subsequent regression analysis). There are some systematic differences between the demographic characteristics of the counties which have made different adoption decisions about 911. The largest and most densely populated counties, as well as those with the highest income and largest police and health budgets, tend to have adopted Enhanced 911.

When comparing the counties with No 911 to the counties with Basic 911, it is interesting to note that they are remarkably similar in terms of density, crime, income, and hospitals per mile. Figure 3 illustrates that many contiguous counties with similar geographic features have different levels of 911. The main differences are that the counties with Basic 911 have higher populations, higher expenditures, and more Perot voters. Since 911 systems involve fixed costs, the differences in adoption appear to be consistent with efficiency motivations on the part of the counties. However, since the county boundaries are purely political distinctions, this finding raises the question of whether between-county cooperation in the provision of 911 services might allow more citizens to be served by 911. The state of Vermont recently implemented a statewide 911 system, perhaps recognizing the economies of scale associated the provision of the service at the state level. payday loans no bank account