Sharing Power; Public Governance and Private Markets / Edition 1

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In the flush of enthusiasm to make govemment work better, reformers from both left and right have urged government to turn as many functions as possible over to the private sector and to allow market competition to instill efficiency and choice. In fact, government has been doing just this for years: every major policy initiative launched since World War II has been managed by public-private partnerships. Yet such privatization has not solved government's problems. While there have been some positive results, there has been far less success than advocates of market competition have promised. In a searching examination of why the "competition prescription" has not worked well, Donald F. Kettl finds that government has largely been a poor judge of private markets. Because government rarely operates in truly competitive markets, contracting out has not so much solved the problems of inefficiency as aggravated them. Government has often not proved to be an intelligent consumer of the goods and services it has purchased. Kettl provides specific recommendations as to how government can become a "smart buyer," knowing what it wants and judging better what it has bought. Through detailed case studies, Kettl shows that as market imperfections increase, so do problems in governance and management. He examines the A-76 program for buying goods and services, the FTS-2000 telecommunications system, the Superfund program, the Department of Energy's production of nuclear weapons, and contracting out by state and local governments. He argues that government must be more aggressive in managing contracts if it is to build successful partnerships with outside contractors. Kettl maintains that the answer is not more government, but a smarter one, which requires strong political leadership to refocus the bureaucracy's mission and to change the bureaucratic culture.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In Government by Proxy: (Mis?)Managing Federal Programs (Congressional Quarterly Press, 1988) political scientist Kettl discussed the increasing reliance of the federal government upon intermediaries to carry out governmental policy. In his current book he continues this theme, explaining that this trend receives support from leaders both on the left and right of the political spectrum who endorse contracting out for services. While not disputing that benefits can be derived from privatization, he does show, through several case studies, that careful scrutiny must be made of this process. To succeed, Kettl believes career government officials must become smart buyers of services and able to negotiate and manage contracts, while elected and appointed officials must become aware of the issues involved in contracting and be able to determine and preserve core governmental functions. Recommended for large business and public administration collections.-- Robert Logsdon, Indiana State Lib . , Indianapolis
Political scientist Kettl (U. of Wisconsin, Madison) asserts that government's reliance upon the private sector has grown faster than its ability to manage it, and that aggressive management of contracts (smarter buying) is imperative. He scrutinizes four cases: the A-76 program, the FTS-2000 system, the Superfund program, and management of environmental and health problems at nuclear weapons production facilities. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815749073
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/1993
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 232
  • Lexile: 1410L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.53 (d)

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 The Competition Prescription 1
The Hidden Growth of Public-Private Partnerships 6
Private Markets 14
Public Interests 17
The Myth of the Self-Governing Market 20
Ch. 2 Government and Markets 21
The Contracting Relationship 22
Different Markets, Different Problems 29
Sharing Power 37
Ch. 3 The A-76 Program: Logistics and Libraries 41
Devising a Competitive Process 43
The Fruits of Competition 46
Contracting Out and Government Employees 58
The Government as Buyer 62
Ch. 4 The FTS-2000 System: Federal Telecommunications 67
The Problem of Competition 68
Competition in Contracting 72
Administering the Contract 85
Managing Market Competition 94
Ch. 5 Superfund: Red Ice and Purple Dogs 99
Negotiating Market Behavior 101
Controlling the Market 105
Program Oversight 116
Agency Cultures 122
An Imperfect Marketplace 126
Ch. 6 Nuclear Weapons Production: Bombs and Bomb Makers 129
Trouble at Rocky Flats 134
Changing the Bureaucratic Culture 146
The Intelligence of Government 152
Ch. 7 Contracting Out in State and Local Governments 155
The Evidence on State and Local Contracting 157
Contracting Out for Social Services 165
Accountability in Service Networks 175
Ch. 8 The Smart-Buyer Problem 179
The Government as Smart Buyer 180
Mutual Dependence 182
Management Issues for Contracting 193
Ch. 9 Managing Versus Governing 199
Coping with Uncertainty 202
Governing through Leadership 211
Index 213
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