The public management challenges of contracting with nonprofits for social services

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


States and municipalities increasingly pursue privatization as a way to deliver public goods and services because of two expected outcomes, reduced costs and quality improvements. Several reasons are frequently cited for these anticipated benefits ranging from market competition to increased management flexibility and discretion to fewer rules and regulations. One policy area in which government has privatized many services through contracting with nonprofit organizations is social services. Contracted services are as diverse as providing shelters for the homeless, vocational education and job retraining, domestic violence services, refugee esettlement, child and elder abuse services, and food banks. A proliferation of public administration and nonprofit organizational scholarship has examined a range of issues associated with the government-nonprofit social service contracting relationship, not the least of which are topics related to management, measurement, and accountability. This article examines the public management challenges and implications of contracting with nonprofit organizations for the delivery of social services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-517
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Journal of Public Administration
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Public Administration


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