A Political Consequence of Contracting: Organized Interests and State Agency Decision Making

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Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, ISSN: 1053-1858, Vol: 19, Issue: 3, Page: 579-602

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Kelleher, Christine A.; Yackee, Susan Webb
Oxford University Press (OUP)
Social Sciences; Business, Management and Accounting
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We argue that contracting opens a pathway for organized interests to lobby public managers. Using multilevel modeling techniques, we test this proposition with data from administrative agencies in the American states. We find that interactions between organized interests and managers increase in the presence of contracting. We then demonstrate that the influence of organized interests over key state agency decision making is driven, in part, by whether an agency contracts out for public service delivery. The findings suggest the presence of an alternate pathway for organized interests to access and influence government decision makers. Moreover, these results complement previous studies, which primarily highlight the potential economic benefits of contracting and hold important normative implications for our understanding of government responsiveness in an era of decentralized governance.