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Privatization and Cost Reduction

Janet Rothenberg Pack
Policy Sciences
Vol. 22, No. 1 (Mar., 1989), pp. 1-25
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4532156
Page Count: 25
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Privatization and Cost Reduction
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Abstract

In this paper several examples of government contracts with private firms are examined to see how experience conforms to a principal-agent model of cost minimization via competitive bidding and how important are the many qualifications to the model. Fifteen cases of local government contracting are examined. The course of private contracting is not always smooth - as judged by the many contract disruptions observed and by the number of cities that believe they are no longer saving money by contracting and those which have resumed public production. It also seems to be the case, however, that competition generally reduces initial costs, that in many cases cost savings persist, that it is possible to stimulte competition, and that providing for continual interaction, as contrasted with simply monitoring performance, can prevent disruption.

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