Comparing contracting performance: Culture, competition, contracts, capabilities and collaboration in UK and Scandinavia

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One key question for the last three decades of public management reforms is whether country differences between radical and modest reform approaches make a difference for performance in a reformed public sector. This paper compares differences in the implementation and performance of contracting out, i.e. private delivery of public services, between the United Kingdom and Scandinavia. The reform approach in the United Kingdom are argued to have generated a ‘deep’ contracting culture embedding stronger contracting institutions than the more ‘shallow’ contracting cultures in Scandinavia. Hypotheses are suggested for the role of culture, competition, contracts, capabilities and collaboration for contracting performance between and across the countries. Arguments are tested against data from on four comparable national surveys of private delivery of park and road maintenance services in local governments. Contracting performance is found to be higher in the United Kingdom due to a stronger overall combination of institutional features while performance differences across the countries in ranked order are found to be collaboration, contracts, capabilities and competition. Overall, the study support arguments in favor of a leading edge in radical reforming countries for some types of service settings but also prospective paths for catching up by more modest reforming countries.
Publikationsdatoapr. 2017
Antal sider1
StatusUdgivet - apr. 2017
Begivenhed21th Annual International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM) Conference: The Culture and Context of Public Management - Corvinus University of Budapest (Dept. of Public Policy and Management), Budapest, Ungarn
Varighed: 19 apr. 201721 apr. 2017


Konference21th Annual International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM) Conference
LokationCorvinus University of Budapest (Dept. of Public Policy and Management)