All too often government lacks the skill, the will, and the wallet to meet its missions. Schools fall short of the mark while roads and bridges fall into disrepair. Health care costs too much and delivers too little. Budgets bleed red ink as the cost of services citizens want outstrips the taxes they are willing to pay. Collaborative Governance is the first book to offer solutions by demonstrating how government at every level can engage the private sector to overcome seemingly insurmountable problems and achieve public goals more effectively.
John Donahue and Richard Zeckhauser show how the public sector can harness private expertise to bolster productivity, capture information, and augment resources. The authors explain how private engagement in public missions—rightly structured and skillfully managed—is not so much an alternative to government as the way smart government ought to operate. The key is to carefully and strategically grant discretion to private entities, whether for-profit or nonprofit, in ways that simultaneously motivate and empower them to create public value. Drawing on a host of real-world examples-including charter schools, job training, and the resurrection of New York’s Central Park—they show how, when, and why collaboration works, and also under what circumstances it doesn’t.
Collaborative Governance reveals how the collaborative approach can be used to tap the resourcefulness and entrepreneurship of the private sector, and improvise fresh, flexible solutions to today’s most pressing public challenges.
"No one has summed up quite as concisely the transcendent idea behind the deregulation movement of the last fifty years as have Donahue and Zeckhauser: that by carefully granting decision-making authority to private entities, profit and non-profit enterprises alike, government can achieve considerable gains in both efficiency and consent."—David Warsh, Economic Principals
"For anybody who has any experience in public life, either as a politician or official, or in the private sector working on government contracts, Collaborative Governance by John Donahue and Richard Zeckhauser is an interesting read."—Diane Coyle, Enlightened Economist blog
"Public-private collaboration, for better and for worse, is the way of American government. Sometimes this is done very well. Sometimes . . . this is done very badly. Elected officials and public managers need to learn to do this more effectively, because that's the way their work will get done. John Donahue and Richard Zeckhauser provide a great starting point to ponder these issues. . . . Through a variety of case studies, they consider what government must do in monitoring and motivating private partners to make such arrangements a success. . . . This book effectively demonstrates that government can increase public value by properly and carefully collaborating with the for-profit and non-profit sectors."—Harold Pollack, Reality-Based Community
"Required reading for anyone interested or involved in public policy making to understand the potential value, and risks, of collaborative governance."—Sasha Jesperson, LSE Politics and Policy
"Donahue and Zeckhauser have written an appealing book that, once again, conceives of collaboration as possible. . . . The scholarship upon which the book is based can not be doubted. . . . The public, non profit, and private sectors will need one another to meet on the basis of respect for the strengths of the other. This book's optimism is a delightful step in that direction."—Jos C. N. Raadschelders, Perspectives on Politics
"This new and insightful work by Donahue and Zeckhauser argues that many of our most important national problems cannot best be solved by government policies or programs alone, nor can they be solved by the private sector alone. Rather, they should be approached as genuine collaborations between government and the private sector, collaborations where there is true sharing of discretion between the parties. The book is full of interesting and compelling examples of such collaboration, drawn from education, urban policy, national security, and beyond, some of which were very successful and some much less so. Analyzing these examples and cases, the book provides a detailed and useful range of prescriptions for government as it pursues these collaborative efforts. The book generalizes beyond these case examples and prescriptions and develops a new conceptual framework for considering and designing collaborations. Surely genuine government-private collaborations will increasingly be one of the most important ways we approach many of our most pressing problems, and this new book makes a vital contribution to understanding and promoting these creative efforts."—Jay O. Light, dean emeritus, Harvard Business School
"Government vs. the market was the central subject in the twentieth-century debates. How best to combine public and private sector efforts to meet the needs of citizens is the key subject for the twenty-first century. Zeckhauser and Donahue's important book will define this debate for years to come. It should be read by anyone in the public sector who wants to work with the private sector and anyone in the private sector who wants to work with the public sector."—Lawrence H. Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor, Harvard University
"This book intrigued me. All the principles of this pioneering subject are illustrated here with crisp case studies, which makes for happy reading. These authors know how to write."—Thomas C. Schelling, Nobel Prize-winning economist
"Government can't solve all our problems. But nor can the private sector. Public-private collaborations—through which government pursues public missions by engaging private players—can be an important part of any solution. In this lucid and thoughtful book, John D. Donahue and Richard J. Zeckhauser explain how they work, why and under what circumstances they work best, and how policymakers have successfully blended private-sector efficiencies with public accountability. Using real-world examples drawn from policy domains as diverse as education, economic development, and health and safety, the authors describe the many advantages of collaboration and also clarify the pitfalls. The result is a wonderfully readable and useful account of how private incentives can be used to achieve public goals."—Robert B. Reich, University of California, Berkeley
"This insightful book will stimulate a rethinking of the respective roles of private and public action. Donahue and Zeckhauser draw from an incredibly rich set of case studies that illustrate both the strengths and potential pitfalls of collaboration. Until now, there has been no formal articulation of the kinds of principles that this book provides for guiding policy. A genuine pleasure to read."—W. Kip Viscusi, author of Smoke-Filled Rooms: A Postmortem on the Tobacco Deal
"Collaborative Governance fills a yawning gap in the literature on collaboration and partnerships. This book achieves the gold standard for excellent writing, case selection, and presentation. The cases are interesting and cover a wide range of policy arenas. The conceptual points are made with a convincing but gentle touch."—Paul L. Posner, George Mason University