The Outsourcing of Public Library Management: An Analysis of the Application of New Public Management Theories from the Principal-Agent Perspective


Advocates of new public management (NPM) claim that private service delivery promotes efficiency, effectiveness, and cost savings in government. Critics of NPM cite numerous examples of failed attempts to apply NPM. This article examines multiple case studies to determine the strengths and weaknesses of NPM when applied to the outsourcing of public library management. Particular attention focuses on several predicted NPM outcomes including accountability, cost savings, and citizen use/satisfaction. The findings from the cases show that NPM claims related to returning government to its proper principal-agent focus, and thus achieving gains in efficiency and citizen use/satisfaction, are questionable

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