Managing Public Service Contracts: Aligning Values, Institutions, and Markets

Authors

  • Trevor L Brown,

    Corresponding author
    1. Ohio State University
      Trevor L. Brown is an assistant professor at The Ohio State University, where he teaches public management and organizational theory. His research focuses on contracting out and contract management, performance measurement and management, intergovernmental relations, and democratization. E-mail: brown.2296@osu.edu.
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  • Matthew Potoski,

    Corresponding author
    1. Iowa State University
      Matthew Potoski is an associate professor at Iowa State University, where he teaches politics, policy, and administration. His research studies public management and contracting, environmental policy, and public organizations.E-mail: potoski@iastate.edu.
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  • David M Van Slyke

    Corresponding author
    1. Syracuse University
      David M. Van Slyke is an assistant professor of public administration at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. His research and teaching focus on public and nonprofit management, privatization and contracting, policy implementation, and strategic management. E-mail: vanslyke@maxwell.syr.edu.
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Trevor L. Brown is an assistant professor at The Ohio State University, where he teaches public management and organizational theory. His research focuses on contracting out and contract management, performance measurement and management, intergovernmental relations, and democratization. E-mail: brown.2296@osu.edu.

Matthew Potoski is an associate professor at Iowa State University, where he teaches politics, policy, and administration. His research studies public management and contracting, environmental policy, and public organizations.E-mail: potoski@iastate.edu.

David M. Van Slyke is an assistant professor of public administration at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. His research and teaching focus on public and nonprofit management, privatization and contracting, policy implementation, and strategic management. E-mail: vanslyke@maxwell.syr.edu.

Abstract

The contracting of public services has been an integral part of public managers’ work for a long time, and it is here to stay. This essay sums up current research on the topic for busy practitioners and scholars. Where are we today with respect to the problems and pitfalls of contracting out, from balancing equity with efficiency to confronting the frequent problem of imperfect markets?

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