Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Government and International Affairs

Major Professor

Kiki Caruson


contracting out, counties, Florida, municipalities, privatization, recession


Challenging economic conditions have led local governments to explore alternative methods to deliver public services to residents. This thesis explores historical contracting out trends and offers new research about contracting out activity by local jurisdictions in the state of Florida. Through an e-survey, the new data examines if cities and counties in Florida increased contracting out activity of public services in response to a declining economic environment and changes in population growth trends.

This elaborate and multifaceted task is accomplished through a deliberate interdisciplinary research approach. The literature review consists of well-known publication responsible for creating the foundation of contracting out research, which has been covered often in previous research. However, this thesis also spans across customary research approaches by including recent news coverage from non-traditional sources, extensive analysis of the most recent United States economic recession, and a close examination of the specific changes that transpired in Florida. It covers publication from the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and the National League of Cities (NLC). It also covers data from sources focused on Florida such as the Bureau of Economic Business Research (BEBR, Florida Department of Revenue (DOR), and the Florida League of Cities (FLC).

Combined with a comprehensive literature review, the research explores whether two explanatory factors (population growth changes and fiscal pressures) were drivers of contracting out decisions by Florida counties and cities during the 2007-2009 recession.