The Public Private Nexus – Privatization

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Today’s complex problems have increased the importance of effective delivery of public services from government. This growing need has prompted governments to seek help from private entities in the provision of many services, a process called privatization. Unfortunately, the interconnections, or nexuses, between public and private entities sometimes produce undesirable outcomes for the public.

Consider for a moment how privatization may have personally affected you in your community, state, or nation. Think of a service that was once provided by government that is now provided by a private entity. What was the end result? What did you think of the change? As you read this week’s Learning Resources, think about the positive or negative value of privatization of government responsibilities.

For this Discussion, consider the implications of privatization for the quality of the service and accountability of the provider.

Post at least two factors that you consider most prominent in explaining the growing preference for privatization of government responsibilities. Provide your rationale. Then, explain how privatization might diminish the role of the federal, state, or local government in everyday life and why. Explain whether privatization might be an attempt by government to escape accountability and why. Finally, explain the implications of privatization on public policy, particularly in the context of democracy. Provide an example.

Please support postings with specific references to the Readings.


  • Hudson, W. E. (2017). American democracy in peril: Eight challenges to America’s future (8th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
    • Chapter 6, “The Sixth Challenge: The ‘Privileged Position’ of Business” (pp. 219-256)
    • Chapter 8, “The Eighth Challenge: The National Security State” (pp. 301-348)
  • Shafritz, J. M., Lane, K. S., & Borick, C. P. (Eds.). (2005). Classics of public policy. New York, NY: Pearson Education.
    • Chapter 5, “The Political Economy of Public Policy”
      • Capitalism and Freedom (1962) (pp. 185–189)
  • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. (2006). Don’t be a prisoner to empty promises: Prison privatization: The five empty promises. Retrieved from
  • Clemmitt, M. (2012, July 13). Privatizing the military. CQ Researcher, 22(25), 597–620.
  • Hacker, J. S., & Pierson, P. (2010). Winner-take-all politics: Public policy, political organization, and the precipitous rise of top incomes in the United States. Politics & Society, 38(2), 152–204.
  • Kosar, K. R. (2006). Privatization and the federal government: An introduction. CRS Report for Congress (Order Code RL33777). Retrieved from
  • Milward, H. B., Provan, K. B. (2000). Governing the hollow state. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 10(2), 359–379.
  • National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education (NCSPE). (n.d.) Information resources. Retrieved from


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