Market-Type Mechanisms and Public Service Equity: A Review of Experiences in European Public Services

Abstract

In seeking to benefit from the competitive pressures exerted through marketization, governments have hoped to gain improvements in public service efficiency. Yet, concerns remain about the effects of marketization on how equitably public services are provided. We consider evidence about the relationship between the introduction of market-type mechanisms in the European public sector and the efficiency and equity of service provision. Our analysis reveals that although market-type mechanisms sometimes result in worse service equity, there is only weak evidence of a trade-off between efficiency and equity.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the members of the PANDA network for helpful comments on an early draft as well as the participants in the Permanent Study Group II: Performance in the Public Sector at the European Group for Public Administration Annual Conference in Speyer, Germany, 10–12 September 2014.

Funding

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 266887 (Project COCOPS).

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Correspondence to Sorin Dan.

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Dan, S., Andrews, R. Market-Type Mechanisms and Public Service Equity: A Review of Experiences in European Public Services. Public Organiz Rev 16, 301–317 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11115-015-0310-6

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Keywords

  • Public management reform
  • Market-type mechanisms
  • Service equity
  • Europe