Patterns of Local Public Administration Reform: Perceived Effects and Determinants of Contracting and Intermunicipal Cooperation among Local Governments in Sweden
36 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 22 Sep 2009
Date Written: 2009
Local governments are no longer restricted to in-house production of public services. Contracting out and intermunicipal cooperation have proven to be two viable alternatives, and have gained widespread recognition in practice as well as in scholarly literature. In this paper, we first analyze how local politicians perceive the effects of the reforms. Thereafter, we investigate the determinants of contracting and intermunicipal cooperation among all local governments in Sweden. Politicians tend to perceive both reforms as having beneficial effects; however, further analysis shows that intermunicipal cooperation may impair accountability. When it comes to determinants of actual implementation of the two reforms, we find that factors established in earlier research matter. We also present a hitherto understudied causal mechanism for administrative reform – political uncertainty and resulting policy insulation.
Keywords: Local government, public administration, privatization, contracting, intermunicipal cooperation
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