Public Service Corporations: estimating the link between public scrutiny and share

  • Awarded to: Dr Stephen Greasley
  • Co-investigators: Dr Gabriel Katz
  • Funding Awarded to Exeter: £7,963
  • Dates: 1 May 2015 - 30 November 2016
  • Sponsor(s): Sponsor British Academy/Leverhulme

Public Service Corporations (PSCs) such as Serco, Capita and G4S are large businesses that are relatively specialised in the delivery of public services. They have been subject to very little direct analysis by policy scholars and this project starts to fill that gap. Over recent years there have been a number of contract failures for example relating to the Olympic security contract, GP out of hours services, allegations of abuse of inmates in immigration detention centres and overcharging on contracts for prisoner tagging. Such failures damage companies’ reputations and may hurt their hopes of further public contracts. This project will analyse the effect on PSC share prices of public scrutiny of failures and controversies. Responsiveness of PSC share price to public scrutiny may constitute a new type of political accountability, giving the corporations incentive to improve performance, or at least avoid public scandal. The effect of public scrutiny on share price may also shape the strategic relationship between Government and its large contractors. 

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