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Outsourcing Public Services: Contractibility, Cost, and Quality

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  • Fredrik Andersson
  • Henrik Jordahl
  • Jens Josephson

Abstract

We review the literature on public sector outsourcing to explore if the theoretical predictions from the incomplete contracts literature hold up to recent empirical evidence. Guided by theory, we arrange services according to the type and magnitude of their contractibility problems. The empirical studies point at rather favourable outsourcing outcomes, in terms of costs and quality, for services without severe contracting problems. The picture is more mixed for services with tougher contracting problems, with the weight of the evidence in favour of public provision. This difference between services is largely in line with the property-rights framework and theories of incomplete contracts.

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  • Fredrik Andersson & Henrik Jordahl & Jens Josephson, 2019. "Outsourcing Public Services: Contractibility, Cost, and Quality," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 65(4), pages 349-372.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cesifo:v:65:y:2019:i:4:p:349-372.
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    Cited by:

    1. Niklas Potrafke, 2019. "Does Public Sector Outsourcing Decrease Public Employment? Empirical Evidence from OECD Countries," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 65(4), pages 464-484.
    2. Knutsson, Daniel & Tyrefors, Björn, 2020. "The Quality and Efficiency Between Public and Private Firms: Evidence from Ambulance Services," Working Paper Series 1365, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 01 Jul 2021.
    3. Antonio Sánchez Soliño, 2019. "Sustainability of Public Services: Is Outsourcing the Answer?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(24), pages 1-12, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    privatization; property rights; publicly provided goods;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out

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