You Don’t Always Get What You Pay For: The Economics of Privatization. Elliott D. Sclar, Professor of Urban Planning & Public Affairs, Columbia University. Prepared for PRMPO & SDV, World Bank, Washington DC. Wednesday, February 27, 2002. The Political & Economic Context for the Book.
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Elliott D. Sclar,
Professor of Urban Planning &
Prepared for PRMPO & SDV,
February 27, 2002
The Political & Economic Context for the Book
The political conventional wisdom in support of privatization and deregulation can be traced to some key events of the 1970s and 1980s: Some Stylized Facts
My Findings and Response
The reasoning was tautological: The public sector needed to privatize because it was less competent than the private sector and the privatization did not work because the public sector was incompetent. That was not an intellectually satisfying answer.
The line between that which we
expect of government action
and that which we expect from private actions is always fuzzy.
According to a 1999 study* there were 1.9 million federal employees (civil service and political appointees) and 8 million people employed on federal grants and contracts.
This is a result of the fact that a bi-partisan Congressional consensus emerged to seek to cap the size of the federal work force. (Ideology)
The story at the state level is similar.