Journal Article

The Assessment: Financing and Managing Public Services

Paul A. Grout and Margaret Stevens

in Oxford Review of Economic Policy

Published on behalf of The Oxford Review of Economic Policy Ltd

Volume 19, issue 2, pages 215-234
Published in print June 2003 | ISSN: 0266-903X
Published online June 2003 | e-ISSN: 1460-2121 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxrep/19.2.215
The Assessment: Financing and Managing Public Services

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  • Economic Development and Growth
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Public services can be, and are, delivered according to a variety of different arrangements. The public sector can finance and provide a service itself, or contract with the private sector to participate in provision, or its role may be limited to regulating a private provider. In this paper we examine the features determining the effectiveness of public‐service delivery, including incentives for employees and teams within organizations providing public services, the structure of the organization and the competitive framework that it faces, and the role of the private sector. We assess the reform programme in the UK, which has involved substantial reorganization of public services and increasing involvement of the private sector. Reforms focus on the improvement of incentives; but while incentives are critical, the special characteristics of public services (and the people who provide them) must be recognized in the implementation of new structures and incentive schemes.

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Subjects: Economic Development and Growth ; Public Economics ; Political Economy ; Public Policy

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