Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award

Spring 2009

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


Political Science


The contracting out of services, by municipalities, while not quite a new phenomenon, is still relatively new, that it provides a rich source of study for public administration scholars and students. Some of the arguments that proponents of privatization make, are that: contracting out is more efficient, that it makes it possible for municipalities to take advantage of specialized skills, which are lacking in the workforces of municipalities, and contracting permits a quicker response to new needs and facilitates experimentation with new programs, to name a few.

Critics of privatization say that the contracting process in the end tends to be more costly than if services were performed in-house, and that privatization leads to retrenchment of government workers, these are a few of the arguments/points critics of privatization bring up.

Despite the criticism of the contracting out of services by municipalities, logic still holds that residents of cities who contract out services, should be more satisfied than residents of cities where services are performed, and provided in – house. I conducted a study to find out if this was the case, and was astonished to discover that in my preliminary study, after running a regression, I found an inverse relationship to exist between whether city services were contracted out, and the overall satisfaction with city services. This clearly means that municipal officials must do a better job of monitoring service contracts once they are awarded.