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Political preferences and public sector outsourcing

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  • Elinder, Mikael
  • Jordahl, Henrik

Abstract

Given the intensive and ideologically charged debate over the use of private contractors for publicly funded services, it is somewhat surprising that many social scientists have preferred to explain government outsourcing by the pursuit of economic efficiency. Starting out from different theories, we investigate political explanations of government outsourcing using a Swedish data set in which outsourcing varies between municipalities and over time, as well as between services. Our identification strategy focuses on two services with similar contracting problems and local market conditions: preschools and primary schools. We study a period in which Swedish municipalities had full discretion in the provision of preschools, while their influence on the private provision of primary education was limited by a national voucher system. The comparison of preschools with primary schools in a difference-in-differences model suggests that the political color of the ruling majority influences outsourcing, which is consistent with the Citizen Candidate model of representative democracy.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 30 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 43-57

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Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:30:y:2013:i:c:p:43-57

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505544

Related research

Keywords: Outsourcing; Ideology; Public provision; Contracting out; Child care; Education;

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Cited by:
  1. Schuster, Philipp & Schmitt, Carina & Traub, Stefan, 2013. "The retreat of the state from entrepreneurial activities: A convergence analysis for OECD countries, 1980–2007," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 95-112.
  2. Kauder, Björn & Potrafke, Niklas, 2013. "Government ideology and tuition fee policy: Evidence from the German States," Munich Reprints in Economics 19532, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. Christian Bjørnskov & Niklas Potrafke, 2013. "The Size and Scope of Government in the US States: Does Party Ideology Matter?," CESifo Working Paper Series 4246, CESifo Group Munich.

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