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Warner, M.E. and Amir Hefetz 2004. "Pragmatism over Politics: Alternative Service Delivery in Local Government, 1992-2002," pp 8-16 in The Municipal Year Book 2004. Washington, DC: International City County Management Association.

In response to increased interest in privatization, ICMA has been tracking local governmentsÕ use of alternative service delivery approaches since 1982. What is interesting about the trends is how little they have changed over these years. Almost all governments responding to the ICMA surveys use at least one form of alternative service delivery. However, despite strong political support for privatization and a reduction in opposition, direct public delivery is still the most common form of service delivery. For profit privatization and inter-governmental contracting are the most common alternatives and their usage has ranged from 15-20 percent of services over the period with a slight drop from 1997 to 2002. Use of non-profit contracting has been stable at less than half the rate of for profit privatization. What has risen most dramatically over the 1992-2002 time period is the use of mixed public/private provision. These data suggest local governments are mature and experienced in their use of alternative service delivery. The 2002 survey results show lack of competitive markets and problems with contractor performance as explanations for the relative flatness of the trends.

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Subject: Privatization