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Warner, Mildred E. and Amir Hefetz 2010, "Privatization and Reverse Privatization in US Local Government Service Delivery, 2002-2007," Paper prepared for Public Service International Council of Global Unions Conference, Geneva, Switzerland, Oct. 2010

Contracting out for urban infrastructure delivery has been an important reform pursued by cities in the last decades of the 20th century. However, using national surveys of US municipalities conducted by the International City County Management Association, this paper shows that rates of new contracting are balanced with reverse contracting – bringing previously privatized services back in house. Reversals reflect problems with service quality and lack of cost savings in contracted services. Recognition or the asset specific nature of infrastructure services, the need for monitoring and the importance of political opposition help explain these reversals.

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Subject: Privatization