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Public Sector Outsourcing: Creative Accounting or a Sustainable Improvement? – A Case Study for Austria

Listed author(s):
  • Doris Prammer


    (Oesterreichische Nationalbank)

The key rationale for public sector outsourcing is normally to improve public sector delivery as well as the state of public finances as defined by the Maastricht criteria. Like the underlying motives, the ensuing effects may also be diverse, however: increased business efficiency is generally accompanied by redistribution effects, and public sector outsourcing can affect the state’s role as a service provider and may have implications for the state’s stabilizing function. By the same token, the fiscal effects of such outsourcing are not always clear-cut. While the fiscal balance can typically be “improved” in the short term, the common fiscal indicators tend to become less meaningful as a result. The long-term fiscal effects of public sector outsourcing – especially, on long-term fiscal sustainability – have barely been researched. As a review of two Austrian outsourcing cases – BIG (federal facility management company) and ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railways) – shows, public sector outsourcing has a major impact on the assessment of fiscal sustainability without actually improving fiscal sustainability itself.

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Article provided by Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank) in its journal Monetary Policy & the Economy.

Volume (Year): (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 118-135

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Handle: RePEc:onb:oenbmp:y:2009:i:1:b:7
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