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FSD2460 Politics of Competitive Tendering in Local Government 2008

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Authors

  • Fredriksson, Sami (University of Helsinki. Department of Economics and Political Studies)
  • Hyvärinen, Olli (University of Helsinki. Department of Economics and Political Studies)
  • Mattila, Mikko (University of Helsinki. Department of Economics and Political Studies)
  • Wass, Hanna (University of Helsinki. Department of Economics and Political Studies)

Keywords

attitudes, competitive tendering, decision making, economic competition, health services, municipalities, politics, private sector, privatization, public sector, social services

Abstract

The survey charted local government decision-makers' views on the competitive tendering of social and health care services in ten Finnish municipalities. The respondents in the target municipalities included local councillors and deputy local councillors, members and deputy members of the local government, and members and deputy members of the Board of Social Affairs and Health.

Background variables related to elected office, such as the respondents' status in the municipal organisation, their political party preference, and how long the respondents had held the elected office, were charted first. Next, the respondents were asked on what basis the solutions related to service provision were made, and what the objectives of these solutions were. Further questions charted for example how much municipal decision-makers discussed outsourcing social and health care services to private service providers, and how often the respondents used various sources of information in the different stages of decision-making. The respondents were also presented with a set of attitudinal statements on private service provision and they were asked to indicate the most important reasons for outsourcing services to private service providers. In addition, they were asked how the municipality argued for providing municipal services, with whom they communicated during the decision-making process related to the provision of social and health care services, and how outsourcing social and health care services to external service providers has influenced the status of various actors. The respondents also assessed the functionality of various social and health care services during the election period and indicated which parts of external service provision should be increased or decreased.

Next, the respondents evaluated the most important bodies in making decisions on competitive tendering, how their status had changed as a result of tendering, which criteria had been employed in selecting the private service providers, and which criteria should be used in selecting them. Attitudes related to service provision were canvassed by asking whether citizens should be able to freely choose whether to use services funded by taxpayers' money or subsidised private services, and the importance of freedom of choice in different services. In addition, the respondents gave their opinions on statements related to increasing the freedom of choice in various matters and organising public services.

Background variables included the respondent's gender, year of birth, mother tongue, economic activity and occupational status, education, employment status, sector of employment (public or private), trade union membership, and self-placement on the left-right scale.

The research project was part of the Municipalities and Competition (Kunnat ja kilpailu) entity of the Foundation for Municipal Development (Kunnallisalan kehittämissäätiö, KAKS).

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