Municipalities’ Choices of Service Delivery Modes: The Influence of Service, Political, Governance, and Financial Characteristics

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Abstract

This study investigates the influence of service, political, governance, and financial characteristics on municipalities’ choices of four service delivery modes (in-house, inter-municipal cooperation, municipality-owned firm, and private firm) in the Dutch local government setting. The results show that as a service involves more asset specificity and more measurement difficulty, the likelihood that municipalities contract this service out is lower. Also, although some differences in preferences are found between boards of aldermen and municipal councils, for both political bodies a more right-wing political orientation is shown to be positively related to privatization of services. Furthermore, contracting out is also shown to be related to the governance model of municipalities, as services of municipalities that (in general) put relatively less emphasis on input, process, and output performance indicators, and more on outcome performance indicators, are more likely to be privatized. Finally, the results also show that services of municipalities that have a better financial position are less likely to be contracted out to a private firm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)502-532
Number of pages31
JournalInternational public management journal
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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political governance
municipality
firm
municipal council
political attitude
Service delivery
Municipalities
Governance
privatization
performance
assets
governance

Cite this

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abstract = "This study investigates the influence of service, political, governance, and financial characteristics on municipalities’ choices of four service delivery modes (in-house, inter-municipal cooperation, municipality-owned firm, and private firm) in the Dutch local government setting. The results show that as a service involves more asset specificity and more measurement difficulty, the likelihood that municipalities contract this service out is lower. Also, although some differences in preferences are found between boards of aldermen and municipal councils, for both political bodies a more right-wing political orientation is shown to be positively related to privatization of services. Furthermore, contracting out is also shown to be related to the governance model of municipalities, as services of municipalities that (in general) put relatively less emphasis on input, process, and output performance indicators, and more on outcome performance indicators, are more likely to be privatized. Finally, the results also show that services of municipalities that have a better financial position are less likely to be contracted out to a private firm.",
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