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Warner, Mildred E. and Germà Bel. 2008. "Competition or Monopoly? Comparing US and Spanish Privatization," Public Administration: An International Quarterly, 86(3): 723-735.

Differences in national traditions of public intervention, institutional arrangements, and public service markets make local public services an area of great diversity. Our objective in this paper is to undertake a comparative study of how local governments arrange for delivery of water and waste services in the U.S. and Spain. We find that levels of privatization are higher in Spain than in the U.S. We review organizational reform in the two contexts and compare service delivery data using national surveys from each country. We conclude that lower and less stable privatization in the U.S. stems in part from adherence to public choice emphasis on the benefits of market competition over public monopoly. By contrast, the Spanish municipalities reflect more of an industrial organization approach, and create hybrid public/private firms which benefit from both market engagement and economies of scale available under monopoly production.

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Subject: Privatization