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Contracting Revisited: Determinants and Consequences of Contracting Out for Public Education Services



The determinants and consequences of contracting are examined in more than 1,000 Texas school districts for 1997–2008. The results largely replicate prior research by O'Toole and Meier, showing that contracting is negatively related to spending on school districts’ core instructional functions and that the relationship between contracting and bureaucracy is reciprocal. The present findings, based on data from a longer period, indicate that contracting is positively related to school district performance. This article also finds support for an extended model of contracting determinants involving two environmental shocks: negative budget shocks and enrollment shocks.