Privatization of Welfare Services: A Review of the Literature. Declining Popular Confidence in Government's Ability to Provide Effective Services


During the last several decades, general public skepticism has grown about the capabilities of government, especially the federal government, and there has been a commensurate interest in harnessing market forces to perform a wide range of functions in a more "business-like" and efficient manner (Sclar 2000). One 1997 nationwide survey found that 41 percent of respondents said they had a "mostly unfavorable" view of the federal government, while 34 percent had a "mostly favorable" view (Pew Research Center for the People and the Press [undated]). In contrast, only 23 percent said they had a "mostly unfavorable" opinion of business corporations, while 55 percent expressed a "mostly favorable" opinion. This kind of ideological preference for private organizations has been reflected in an increasing reluctance to fund expansion of government services.

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