Forms and effects of shared services: an assessment of local government arrangements in Japan
Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration, 2017, vol. 39, issue 1, 39-50
Various forms of shared services are adopted by local governments throughout Japan, just as they are in many other countries. There are high hopes of their being efficient and effective means of service provision and resource management of considerable value to the localities in which they are established and operate. But are the hopes fulfilled, and what are the key factors in how the arrangements are structured, work and achieve results? These are important questions, which are addressed in this article with particular reference to the experience of partial service associations as one form of shared services in two prefectures in Japan. The findings reveal that such associations do not necessarily improve financial efficiency because of various transaction costs. These costs, along with other significant aspects of the arrangements, are certainly worthy of further comprehensive research and analysis.
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