Collaborative cost-cutting: productive efficiency as an interdependency between public organizations

Thomas Elston, Muiris MacCarthaigh, Koen Verhoest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)
68 Downloads (Pure)


Collaboration between public sector organizations is typically understood as a response to complexity. Agencies collaborate in order to address complex, cross-cutting policy needs that cannot be met individually. However, when organizational size is a constraining factor in public service efficiency, collaboration can also reduce costs by capturing scale economies unavailable to organizations of sub-optimal size. Using organization theory, the article conceptualizes these two different triggers for public sector collaboration, and builds a framework for tracing their wider impact upon the formation, operation and outcome of inter-agency partnerships. The framework is illustrated, and its implications for future research explored.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1815-1835
Number of pages21
JournalPublic Management Review
Issue number12
Early online date20 Feb 2018
Publication statusEarly online date - 20 Feb 2018


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