"Sclar . . . has written a highly readable. . . account. . . which ought to be required reading for those engaged in contracting out government services. Recommended for public, academic, and professional library collections."—Choice, October, 2000.
"The domestic enthusiasts of privatization seem to believe that if you want a job done right you must ask the private sector to do it. . .Before they bubble over with giddy, rich-kid ideas like letting Federal Express take over the local post office, they should sit quietly in a corner and read Elliot D. Sclar's new book, You Don't Always Get What You Pay For . . . With breathtaking clarity, Professor Sclar reminds us that today's privatization is nothing more than a fancy label for yesterday's public contracting . . .But as this book demonstrates with one delicious and well documented example after another, you don't have to be corrupt to botch public contracting . . . The wisest lesson that Professor Sclar offers is that poorly managed privatization can collide with important public values . . . His examples and his analysis—and most of all his plea for sensible attention to good public management techniques—deserve wide notice. Even if politicians don't heed his advice, taxpayers should. "—Diana B. Hendriques. The New York Times. May 14,2000.
"Sclar analyzes the assumptions behind the case for privatization of all public services such as hospitals, prisons, and fire departments. The goal of this book is to present readers with a better understanding of the author's recommendations to balance the use of contracting with internal reform to enhance the operation of public agencies."—Mary Whaley. Booklist. June 1, 2000.
"Elliot Sclar's important new book, You Don't Always Get What You Pay For: The Economics of Privatization. . . .shows, in an accessible and non-technical style that, to understand the strengths and weaknesses of public service privatization, it is necessary to understand the theory behind the policy."—Regional Labor Review. 2000.
"Addresses the factors that must go into any decision to reorganize public service, examines the economic reasons why the reform strategy of privatization in the form of public contracting often bogs down, and constructs solutions aimed at improving public service."—Journal of Economic Literature. December, 2000
"This book by Elliot Sclar is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the bases and consequences of the still powerful drive to privatize. . . In short, Sclar's book is a work of enlightenment. . . It should be studied closely by anybody with a serious interest in these important issues."—Edward S. Herman, University of Pennsylvania. Texas Observer, September 2000
"You Don't Always Get What You Pay For is an excellent book on an extremely important topic, discussing in depth the theory and practice, and pitfalls as well as promises, of privatization. Elliott Sclar does a wonderful job of placing the debate in its proper theoretical context, which few others do, and explaining rather complex concepts in an easily understood style—no small feat. I was stunned by Sclar's ability to describe rather obtuse theories so readily—there are 'gems' throughout. He has a gift."—Bruce Wallin, Northeastern University
"Elliott Sclar's critique will serve as a valuable reality check against the rush to private contracting as the solution to government's problems. In this empirically rich, closely reasoned book, Sclar shows how privatization diverts attention from effective strategies for government reform that are based on innovation, employee involvement, and the redesign of services."—Martin D. Hanlon, Queens College of the City University of New York
"How to describe You Don't Always Get What You Pay For—as practical assessment anchored by theory, or as theory enriched by real-world examples? From either angle, Elliott Sclar freshens and deepens an important debate."—John D. Donahue, Harvard University, author of The Privatization Decision
"Proponents of greater reliance of private contracting for government services, among whom I count myself, often speak as if privatization guarantees better results at lower costs. But Elliott Sclar's careful analysis of the historical record will persuade all but the most hardened skeptic that this is not always true. You Don't Always Get What You Pay For should be required reading for government reform advocates from all parts of the political spectrum."—Robert H. Frank, Cornell University