Research

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.

Are Florida's Private Prisons Keeping their Promise?

This policy brief discusses the privatization of adult prisons in Florida.  It discusses the lack of evidence that private prisons cost less or operate more effectively.

Following the Money: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data

This report discusses transparency of contracts and evaluates states' progress toward a new standard of comprehensive, one-stop, one-click budget accountability and accessibility. Transparency 2.0 is a user-friendly Web portal that provides residents the ability to search detailed information about government contracts, spending subsidies, and grants for all government entities.

Costs and Consequences of Solid Waste Collection Alternatives in Peterborough

This report was written to provide input to municipal officials when they are actively considering the contracting out of solid waste collection to a private company as part of an initiative to increase contracting out city services. It gives a comparison of public costs versus private costs of solid waste collection. It also addresses other costs and benefits relating to waste collection, including overhead costs, transition costs, and increased risks.