P33 Working with the private sector: marketization, procurement, and contracting for public services

Panel Chairs:
Ole Helby Petersen, Veiko Lember and Juraj Nemec

Corresponding Chair:
Ole Helby Petersen, olehp@ruc.dk

For decades, privatization, contracting out, and public procurement has been perceived as policy instruments for promoting a range of outcomes such as lower costs, high quality and innovation in public services and products.
A longstanding expectation is that externalization improves efficiency without sacrificing the quality of public services. However, the results of externalization, contracting out and public procurement, as measured in terms of improved performance, are mixed.

Recent research highlights that the preconditions for successful externalization are not always met in the creation of quasi-markets for ‘human welfare’ public services. Moreover, in the domain of technical services, the evidence is inconclusive too. Perhaps more than ever, it is warranted that the international research community engages in rigorous theorizing and empirical assessment of the experiences, potentials and pitfalls of externalization, contracting and procurement of public services.

This panel invites careful theoretical and empirical analyses of the outcomes, opportunities and challenges emerging from externalization, contracting and procurement as instruments for cost containment, efficiency, quality, risk-shifting and innovation in the domain of public service delivery. Specific areas of interest include, but are not limited to, the following themes:

  • The implications of externalization, contracting and procurement for costs, efficiency, quality and innovation in public services;
  • Understanding the main drivers and barriers to successful externalization in specific or multiple services;
  • The change processes required for the realization of marketization, contracting, and procurement as policy instruments, and;
  • Comparative perspectives on marketization, contracting and procurement practices across countries and regions.

We encourage high-quality submissions using strong empirical strategies as well as rigorous theoretical and methodological papers. Empirical papers could use either quantitative or quality designs (or a combination hereof) and should build on comprehensive data and state-of-the-art methods. Theoretical contributions should be rigorous, coherent and logically consistent.