Social service contracting to nongovernmental organizations is popular form of privatization across the world. Although nonprofits are preferable social service providers for legal and normative reasons, governments in the United States increasingly rely on for-profit organizations to deliver social services. This trend warrants further exploration about whether nonprofits or for-profits perform according to theoretical expectations when they exist in the same market. This study employs qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) to examine how sector-public, nonprofit, and for-profit-combines with structural variables to produce acceptable contract performance in juvenile justice programs. QCA is a discovery-oriented research tool that determines whether combinations of variables within cases produce a specific outcome and whether those combinations are consistent across cases. I find sector is not a necessary or sufficient predictor of acceptable performance on its own. Rather it combines with market factors to lead to acceptable contract performance. Combinations vary by sector, indicating that sectors behave differently in similar circumstances. The primary theoretical contribution of this paper is to provide a nuanced account of contract performance in mixed sector markets.
- Contract performance
- Mixed sector markets
- Qualitative comparative analysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Earth-Surface Processes