Public-Private Partnerships, Cooperative Agreements, and the Production of Public Services in Small and Rural Municipalities

40 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2011

See all articles by Robert D. Mohr

Robert D. Mohr

University of New Hampshire - Department of Economics

Steven Deller

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics

John Halstead

University of New Hampshire - Department of Economics

Date Written: June 1, 2008

Abstract

Using data from approximately 1,000 small and mostly rural municipalities from Illinois, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin, the authors study choices in production arrangements over a wide range of services, and examine a variety of contracting options available to local governments. The data reveal that municipalities often rely on contracts to provide an extensive list of services.

The use of for-profit contractors and cooperative agreements with other governments correlates negatively with population. Nonetheless, small municipalities are less likely to use competitive bidding processes, compare costs between production options, and report that privatization produces savings. Other factors, such as median income, rural geography, and ideology, show statistically significant associations with contracting choices.

Respondents generally consider themselves "satisfied" with services provided by contract, although satisfaction levels are lower than those associated with self-provision. Satisfaction with services provided by other governments is lower than satisfaction with services provided by private contractors. This suggests that small municipalities encounter no tradeoff in service quality directly attributable to for-profit contractors.

Keywords: New Englnad, Public Policy, Public-Private Partnerships, Cooperative Agreements, Public Services, Municipal Finance

Suggested Citation

Mohr, Robert D. and Deller, Steven and Halstead, John, Public-Private Partnerships, Cooperative Agreements, and the Production of Public Services in Small and Rural Municipalities (June 1, 2008). FRB of Boston Public Policy Discussion Paper No. 08-4, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1932797 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1932797

Robert D. Mohr (Contact Author)

University of New Hampshire - Department of Economics ( email )

Durham, NH 03824
United States

Steven Deller

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics ( email )

427 Lorch St.
Madison, WI 53706-1503
United States

John Halstead

University of New Hampshire - Department of Economics ( email )

Durham, NH 03824
United States

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