Privatization of government services in the United States has accelerated in the last two decades, especially at the state and local levels. This work focuses on contracting out--the most widely used method of privatization. Contributors from academia, consulting firms, government agencies, and private providers discuss the why and how of contracting out and examine the results of contracted services, including quality and cost measures of performance. Some chapters apply economic theory to contracting out. Others examine recent case studies of contracting out initiatives.
The book begins with a thoughtful essay on the theory of privatization and examines the recent record of use in state and local governments. Section 1 takes an overview look at contracting out. Section 2 examines contracting in the criminal justice area as well as examples of contracting in such diverse areas as trash collection and the operation of golf courses. The final section looks in depth at the mechanics, obstacles, and effects of contracting. The book points out the pluses and minuses of contracting out and points to the lessons that can be learned from the recent history of this privatization technique.
About the Author:
PAUL SEIDENSTAT is Associate Professor of Economics at Temple University. A specialist in public finance and public management, he has authored and coedited several books, including Educational Choice and Privatizing Education (Praeger, 1994) and Privatizing Transportation Services (Praeger, 1996).