Should Government Go It Alone or With a Partner? A Comparison of Outcomes from a Work Release Program Using Different Policy Tools

Haeil Jung, Deanna Malatesta, Robert J. LaLonde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This article compares labor market outcomes from two different approaches to a work release program in Illinois: direct provision by a government and a purchase-of-service (POS) contract between government and a public charity. Significantly better employment and earnings outcomes were associated with the POS contract. To better understand the reasons for the success of the POS contract, the authors further examined the specific terms of the contract, organizational expertise, and the political context of POS contracts. The results are organized according to the main theoretical assertions. Findings add to the weight of evidence that contractors, like public charities, can be valuable government partners for addressing challenging social policies and programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-555
Number of pages11
JournalPublic Administration Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jul 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Third, the policy implementation literature provides implications for contracting performance (Brown, O’Toole, and Brudney 1998; Hall and O’Toole 2000; O’Toole 1986; Romzek and Johnston 2002). It has been pointed out that political support and steady commitment of financial resources are essential for successful contracting. Political support from officials in the implementing agency to the contract and its partner makes it possible for the contracting initiative and extension. Adequate financial resources enable the government agency not only to effectively administer the contract but also to protect the provider from financial stress. Additionally, reducing burdens in managing contracting by limiting the number of subcontractors involved in service delivery is important to improve contracting performance.

Funding Information:
Note: POS contract program is Crossroads ATC in Chicago, operated by the Safer Foundation. In-house programs include Metro and West Side ATCs in Chicago, directly operated by the IDOC. Standard deviations are in parentheses. ***p<.01; **p<.05; *p<.1.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by The American Society for Public Administration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


Dive into the research topics of 'Should Government Go It Alone or With a Partner? A Comparison of Outcomes from a Work Release Program Using Different Policy Tools'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this