Category Archives: Journal Article

Globalization and the Privatization of Welfare Administration in Indiana

Source: Alfred C. Aman, Jr, Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, Vol. 20, Issue 1, Fall 2012


This article explores the relationship of globalization to domestic law in the context of privatized welfare services in Indiana. It examines the ways that privatization can affect vulnerable populations such as welfare recipients by, in effect, partially dis-embedding the market from the state. It applies Karl Polanyi’s conception of a double movement to illustrate how the political process can, in effect, re-embed the market in the state. Utilizing Indiana’s recent experiences with welfare administration privatization, this article shows that re-embedding is not a simple question of reversing decisions already taken, but rather a complex sequencing of political and legal engagements. It recommends law reforms aimed at more easily triggering the kinds of political actions anticipated by Polanyi’s analysis.

Superbugs vs. Outsourced Cleaners: Employment Arrangements and the Spread of Healthcare-Associated Infections

Source: Adam Seth Litwin, Ariel C. Avgar, Edmund R. Becker, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Forthcoming, February 24, 2016


On any given day, about one in 25 hospital patients in the U.S. has a healthcare-associated infection (HAI) that the patient contracts as a direct result of his or her treatment. Fortunately, the spread of most HAIs can be halted through proper disinfection of surfaces and equipment. Consequently, cleaners — “environmental services” (EVS) in hospital parlance — must take on the important task of defending hospital patients (as well as employees and the broader community) from the spread of HAIs. Nevertheless, despite the importance of this task, hospitals frequently outsource this function, increasing the likelihood that these workers are under-rewarded, undertrained, and detached from the organization and the rest of the care team. As a result, the outsourcing of EVS workers could have the unintended consequence of increasing the incidence of HAIs. We demonstrate this relationship empirically, finding support for our theory by using a self-constructed dataset that marries infection data to structural, organizational, and workforce features of California’s general acute care hospitals. The study thus advances the literature on nonstandard work arrangements — outsourcing, in particular — while sounding a cautionary note to hospital administrators and healthcare policymakers.

Privatization of refuse removal and labor costs

Source: Gary A. Hoover, James Peoples, Journal of Labor Research, Volume 24, Issue 2, Spring 2003
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From the abstract:
We examine the labor-cost savings associated with privatization by comparing earnings and employment trends of public and private sector refuse workers. Findings suggest that high union earnings for workers in the public sector are a source of labor-cost savings in the refuse industry. Evidence on job changers does not indicate that earnings for this group of workers are a compensating differential. Metropolitan area employment findings suggest that municipalities are less likely to use union refuse workers in the public sector when a relatively small percentage of area residents belong to a union.

To Market, to Market: Legislating on Privatization and Subcontracting

Source: Ellen Dannin, Maryland Law Review, Vol. 60 no. 2, 2001

From the abstract:
So enervated is our opinion of public service today, it is a shock to conceive of building this sort of edifice for mere government workers – bean counters and paymasters at that. … We need to ask: when markets are not competitive, can the private sector improve on public sector performance even as it falls short of the competitive ideal? Although it is possible to attempt to create a market by dividing a public service into smaller units, doing so may lead to greater inefficiency, lack of coordination, duplication, and, as a result, greater expense. … Massachusetts is not at the opposite end of Arizona; it does not forbid subcontracting. … Arizona’s privatization legislation mandates that the Office for Excellence in Government develop a model to estimate the total costs for providing a state function and develop a method for comparing those costs to private sector costs. … Arizona, for example, charges its Office of Management and Budget with designing standardized methodology for how the state identifies and evaluates state functions to subcontract and with determining if future competitive contracting with the private sector and other government agencies is in the best interest of the state. … They content that public workers have an unfair advantage because they are familiar with the work and because agencies, as governmental entities, are not required to pay taxes. …