Yuan (Daniel) Cheng is currently an Assistant Professor in Leadership & Management Area in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. 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. Here is a video summary of Daniel's latest work.
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 in parks and higher education. 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 B.S. 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 M.A. in Philanthropic Studies and Ph.D. in Public Affairs from Indiana University.