Agency and Public Services

Julian Le Grand

in Motivation, Agency, and Public Policy

Published in print September 2003 | ISBN: 9780199266999
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191600869 | DOI:
Agency and Public Services

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Discusses the fundamental agency question as to the relative balance of power between individual users and professionals with respect to public services such as health care and education. It examines arguments concerning market and individual ‘failure’, and concludes that the best service is one that treats the users of the service as queens not pawns: i.e. a health care service empowers patients and an education system empowers parents or pupils. But it would also incorporate mechanisms that avoid the overuse or over‐provision of the service concerned, or the use of the service in such a way that damages either the users themselves or the wider society. And it would provide appropriate incentives for providers to deliver such a service, relying upon the appropriate balance of self‐interested and altruistic motivations.

Keywords: agency; education; empowerment; health care; individual failure; market failure; parents; patients; professionals

Chapter.  6172 words. 

Subjects: Public Economics

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