Contracting Out for Human Services

Economic, Political, and Organizational Perspectives

By Ruth H. De Hoog

Subjects: Public Policy
Series: SUNY series in Urban Public Policy
Paperback : 9780873958943, 186 pages, June 1985
Hardcover : 9780873958936, 186 pages, June 1985

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Table of contents


1. Advantages and Disadvantages of Contracting Out
The Case for Contracting Out
Review of Empirical Literature on Contracting Out
Problems and Limitations of Contracting Out 2. Three Additional Perspectives on Contracting Out Analysis of the Procontracting Argument: Three Conditions
The Economics of Market Imperfections
The Politics of Cooptation
The Process of Organizational Decision Making 3. The Human Service Cases Goals of the Research
Case Selection and Methods of Study
An Introduction to Title XX Contracting Out in Michigan Department of Social Services
CETA Contracting Out in the Michigan Department of Labor 4. Competition in Service Environments and Contracting Out Procedures Competition in DSS' Service Environment
Competition in DSS' Contracting Out Procedures
Competition in the Employment and Training Environment
Competition in BET's Contracting Out Procedures 5. Making Contract Decisions Why Contract Out for Title XX Services?
DSS Needs Assessments and Planning
Choosing DSS Contractors
Why Contract Out for CETA Services?
BET Needs Assessments and Planning
Choosing BET Contractors 6. The Watchdog Role Review Procedures in DSS
Opinions about DSS Reviews
BET's Review Procedures
Opinions about BET Reviews 7. The Costs and Benefits of Contracting Out The Costs and Quality of Purchased Social Services
Other Benefits of DSS Contracting Out
Perceived Problems of the Purchasing Process
The Costs and Quality of Purchased Employment Services
Benefits of BET Contracting Out
Perceived Problems of the BET Purchasing Process 8. Concluding Analysis of the Conditions and Perspectives on Contracting Out Comparison of DSS and BET Contracting Out
The Realities of Contracting Out
The Three Alternative Perspectives
Appendix A: Methods of Study
Appendix B: Service Contract Interview Schedule


Contracting out for services has become a popular technique in government's perennial quest to cut spending. Yet seldom has the practice been examined from any but the public choice approach. This book explores contracting out in the important area of human services, covering the critical conditions of contracting and the vital points of politics, procedures, service quality, and effectiveness.

In doing so, DeHoog uses three theoretical perspectives drawn from social science traditions: the economic perspective of market imperfections, the political perspective of cooptation, and the interdisciplinary perspective of organizational decision-making. To evaluate the perspectives and their predictions in the human services, DeHoog has examined contracting in social services (Title XX) and employment and training programs, (CETA), primarily through in-depth interviews with participants.

Ruth Hoogland DeHoog is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida, Gainesville.