A Political Consequence of Contracting: Organized Interests and State Agency Decision Making

Posted: 30 Jun 2009  

Christine A. Kelleher

Villanova University

Susan Webb Yackee

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Political Science; University of Wisconsin - Madison - La Follette School of Public Affairs

Date Written: July 2009

Abstract

We argue that contracting opens a pathway for organized interests to lobby public managers. Using multilevel modeling techniques, we test this proposition with data from administrative agencies in the American states. We find that interactions between organized interests and managers increase in the presence of contracting. We then demonstrate that the influence of organized interests over key state agency decision making is driven, in part, by whether an agency contracts out for public service delivery. The findings suggest the presence of an alternate pathway for organized interests to access and influence government decision makers. Moreover, these results complement previous studies, which primarily highlight the potential economic benefits of contracting and hold important normative implications for our understanding of government responsiveness in an era of decentralized governance.

Suggested Citation

Kelleher, Christine A. and Yackee, Susan Webb, A Political Consequence of Contracting: Organized Interests and State Agency Decision Making (July 2009). Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Vol. 19, Issue 3, pp. 579-602, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1425963 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jopart/mun014

Christine A. Kelleher (Contact Author)

Villanova University ( email )

Villanova, PA 19085
United States

Susan Webb Yackee

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Political Science ( email )

1050 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706
United States

University of Wisconsin - Madison - La Follette School of Public Affairs ( email )

1225 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53705
United States

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