Corruption isn’t the only explanation for why contracting goes awry. Even relatively clean governments are hardly models of efficiency, and private competition can often deliver better for less. The problem is transparency. When a government contracts out work, the distance between the people delivering the services and the ultimate customer — the taxpayer —grows. Contractors have little incentive to save the rest of us money, and our ability to make sure they’re doing it is too limited. There’s an answer to these problems: Publish the contract. That would allow citizens, watchdog groups, even competing firms to see whether taxpayers are getting their money’s worth.