Nonprofit Organizations and Small Business in Social Service Delivery: Blame-shifting, Cost-Shifting or Cooptation?

  • Date: –17:00
  • Location: Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies (IRES)
  • Website
  • Organiser: Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies (IRES)
  • Contact person: Jevgenija Gehsbarga
  • Föreläsning

NB! The seminar will be held on Zoom.

 This is an online seminar. To attend the event please click on the link

The presentation will demonstrate the main findings of the broader research focused on factors which account for the scope of the contracting out of social services in Russian regions. There are three main points of discussion planned to be addressed from the point of theoretical explanations and empirical evidence. First, what motivates regional authorities which operate in non-democratic settings to encourage outsourcing of social services to non-state providers? Do non-state providers operate as means of (1) blame-shifting for a lack or inappropriate services or “fire workers” to compensate for inability to provide services for elderly, (2) cost-shifting, i.e. cut costs for public workers in public organisations and increase costs for service consumers and workload for volunteers, (3) coopted into the public provision? Second, whether simulation strategy (outsourcing to government organized NGOs, i.e. GONGOs or social enterprises created by local or regional authorities) is common in Russian regions and what spheres of outsourcing (care for elderly, disabled, parents in risk of losing parental care etc.) are the most vulnerable for this kind of simulation? Third, do (if) nondemocratic settings distort the initial idea of outsourcing or it doesn’t make an effect producing the same outcomes as democracies do?

The empirical analysis underlying the presentation summarizes key empirical observations and attempts to conceptualize the involvement of nonprofit organisations and social enterprises (private companies) in the outsourcing schemes imposed by the Russian government at the sub-national level. Empirically, the analysis draws on the data from 73 Russian regions in 2016 and 2017 where the outsourcing procedures were implemented. In a broader sense, the paper asks how long-existed monopoly of the public sector providers loaded with the communist heritage is reformed and replaced by competitive procedures and quasi-market environment introduced by outsourcing tools.

Anna Tarasenko (PhD) is visiting researcher at Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki. She is also Research Fellow at the Center for Comparative Governance Studies, National Research University Higher School of Economics (St. Petersburg).