Long Live Marketization for Local Public Spaces: A Study of Scandinavian Managers’ Satisfaction with Private Provider Performance
Continued critiques, evidence and newer reform trends have increasingly contested the use of market-centered models–the competition prescription–for urban public space maintenance as well as other local services. This article adopts a contextualized contingency perspective on the competition prescription and questions the contested status of market-centered models in a survey-based study of the current use of and satisfaction with private providers for maintenance of parks/greenspaces and road/streets in Scandinavian local governments. The study finds widespread use of and satisfaction with private providers. However, satisfaction depends on national context and multiple contingencies. The study challenges the contested status of market-centered models, highlights that different models serve different strategic objectives, and directs attention to discussions of context and key contingencies that define how well market-centered models perform.