Research

Has Water Privatization Gone Too Far in New Jersey?

This report discusses New Jersey's unsatisfactory experiences with water privatization, including poor service and high rates, and urges the state of New Jersey not to auction off water utilities or outsource sewer services, which can have long-term negative consequences.

The Wage Penalty for State and Local Government Employees

This paper examines the wage penalty for working in the state-and-local sector and finds that when state and local government employees are compared to private-sector workers with similar characteristics, state and local workers actually earn 4% less, on average, than their private-sector counterparts.

IUOE Local 39 Letter to Fresno City Council

This letter from the Stationary Engineers, Local 39 to the Fresno City Council discusses why the city should not privatize municipal services and provides many examples of failed privatization efforts across the country. 

Public Good vs. Private Profit: Imagine Schools, Inc. in Ohio

This report examines Imagine Schools, Inc., the nation's largest for-profit charter school management company and found that it has a poor record of performance in Ohio and a business model that includes elaborate school real estate transactions, high management and operations fees, overlapping business relationships with its main authorizer, low spending on classroom instruction, and tight control of school finances and board relationships

Privatization's Pretensions

This article discusses potential legal and policy implications of privatization, regulations, and workaround-specific approaches to privatization agendas. The author raises questions regarding democratic, efficiency, and accountability.

Road Work Ahead: Holding Government Accountable for Fixing America's Crumbling Roads and Bridges

This article discusses how U.S. transportation policy fails to properly emphasize highway and bridge maintenance, with federal transportation policies allocating vast amounts of money to the states with little direction and no accountability. One of the issues discussed is that states generally award major new construction projects to outside contractors, many of whom lobby for such projects. When outside contractors push for wasteful highway construction projects, routine repairs and maintenance become neglected.

Out of Balance? Comparing Public and Private Sector Compensation over 20 Years

This report examines the extent to which state and local government compensation in the United States is comparable to compensation in the private sector for the last several decades, using publicly available data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  It finds that state and local government compensation has fallen, compared to private sector compensation.

A Bad Deal: An Analysis of the Pending California State Office Building Sale/Leaseback Program

This report discusses the proposal made by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to sell off 11 state-owned office properties for the purpose of helping balance the state's budget deficit. The plan is to lease back the sold properties from buyers using a relatively stringent long-term lease. The report recommends against this proposal due to long-range costs and the use of one-time revenues to try to solve a structural budget gap.

The Second Largest Force: Private Military Contractors & State Responsibility

This paper discusses private military contractors and the challenges private contractors pose to international accountability structures. It provides a brief historical context of the use of non-state military forces, an analysis of the use of private military contractors, and their advantages and disadvantages.

Whose Forests Are They, Anyway?

This article discusses the opposition to the decision made by the U.S. Forest Service to use private concessionaires to manage publicly owned recreation facilities.