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.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Amirkhanyan, A. A. (2008). Privatizing public nursing homes: examining the effects on quality and access. Public Administration Review, 68(4), 665–680.
Amirkhanyan, A., Kim, A. H. J., & Lambright, K. T. (2008). Does the public sector outperform the nonprofit and for-profit sectors? Evidence from a national panel study on nursing home quality and access. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 27(2), 326–353.
Atun, R., Menabde, N., Saluvere, K., Jesse, M., & Habicht, J. (2006). Introducing a complex health innovation – primary health care reforms in Estonia (multimethods evaluation). Health Policy, 79, 79–91.
Audit Commission (2002). Housing after transfer: the local authority role, Housing National Report, London: Audit Commission.
Behaghel, L., Crépon, B., & Gurgand, M. (2009). Evaluation d’impact de l’accompagnement des demandeurs d’emploi par les opérateurs privés de placement et le programme Cap vers l’entreprise, Final report, September. Paris: Paris School of Economics.
Clifton, J., & Díaz-Fuentes, D. (2010). Evaluating EU policies on public services: a citizens’ perspective. Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, 81(2), 281–311.
Clifton, J., Díaz-Fuentes, D., Fernández-Gutiérrez, M., & Revuelta, J. (2010). Rethinking public service regulation after the crisis, Working paper, 2010–35, Milan European Economy Workshops, Milan: University of Milan.
Cookson, R., Dusheiko, M., Hardman, G., & Martin, S. (2010). Competition and Inequality: evidence from the English National Health Service, 1991–2001. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 20, 181–205. Incentives and public service performance: A special issue.
Cour de Comptes (2010). Le service public pénitentiaire: Prévenir la récidive, gérer la vie carcérale, Public report. July, Paris.
Divay, S. (2009). Nouveaux opérateurs privés du service public de l'emploi. Les pratiques des conseillers sont-elles novatrices? Travail et emploi, 3(119), 37–49.
Du Gay, P. (2000). In praise of bureaucracy. Weber-Organization-Ethics. London: Sage.
Gilmour, R. S., & Jensen, L. S. (1998). Reinventing government accountability: public functions, privatization, and the meaning of state action. Public Administration Review, 58(3), 247–257.
Harrow, J. (2002). New Public Management and social justice: Just efficiency or equity as well?’. In K. McLaughlin, S. P. Osborne, & E. Ferlie (Eds.), New Public management: Current trends and future prospects. London: Routledge.
Kaps, P., & Schütz, H. (2007). Privatisierung von arbeitsvermittlungsdienstleistungen – Wundermittel zur Effizienzsteigerung? Eine Bestandsaufnahme deutscher und internationaler Erfahrungen (Privatization of employment services: Panacea to improve efficiency? An inventory of German and international experiences, Berlin Centre for Social Research, January, Berlin.
Koning, P., & Heinrich, C. (2013). Cream-skimming, parking and other intended and unintended effects of high-powered, performance-based contracts. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 32(3), 461–483.
Krutilová, V. (2010). Impact of user fees in health care system on health care consumption. Národohospodárský Obzor (Review of Economic Perspectives), 10(4), 113–132.
Kutzin, J., Cashin, C., & Jakab, M. (2010). Implementing health financing reform: Lessons from countries in transition. European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, Copenhagen: World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe.
Götze, R., Cacace, M., & Rothgang, H. (2009). Von der Risiko- zur Anbieterselektion Eigendynamiken wettbewerblicher Reformen in Gesundheitssystemen des Sozialversicherungstyps (The dynamics of provider selection risk in social insurance health systems). Zeitschrift für Sozialreform, 55(2), 149–175.
Hart, O., Shleifer, A., & Vishny, R. W. (1997). The proper scope of government: theory and an application to prisons. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 112(4), 1127–1161.
Hirschman, A. O. (1970). Exit, voice and loyalty: Responses to decline in firms, organizations and states. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Italian Department of Civil Service (2005). Le esternalizzazioni nelle amministrazioni Pubbliche, Indagine sulla diffusione delle pratiche di outsourcing (Outsourcing in public administration, survey on the prevalence of the practice of outsourcing), Report, President of the Council of Ministers, Italian Scientific Edition, Napoli and Roma.
James, O. (2011). Performance measures and democracy: information effects on citizens in field and laboratory experiments. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 21(3), 399–418.
James, O., & John, P. (2007). Public management at the ballot box: performance information and electoral support for incumbent English local governments. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 17(4), 567–580.
Jensen, P., & Stonecash, T. (2005). Incentives and the efficiency of public sector-outsourcing contracts. Journal of Economic Surveys, 19(5), 767–787.
Jilke, S. (2014). Choice and equality: are vulnerable citizens worse-off after liberalization reforms? Public Administration, Online first.
Jilke, S., & Van de Walle, S. (2013). Two track public services? Citizens’ voice behaviour towards liberalized services in the EU15. Public Management Review, 15(4), 465–476.
Kettl, D. (2005). The global public management revolution (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.
Le Grand, J. (2006). Equality and choice in public services. Social Research, 73(2), 695–710.
Le Grand, J., & Bartlett, W. (1993). The theory of quasi-markets. In J. Le Grand & W. Bartlett (Eds.), Quasi-markets and social policy. London: Macmillan.
Lerner, A. P. (1944). The economics of control. New York: Macmillan.
Macinati, M. S. (2006). Il ricorso all’ outsourcing nel Ssn: i risultati di un’indagine empirica, (The appeal to outsourcing in the NHS: the results of an empirical investigation). Mecosan, 56, 121–140.
Milward, H. B., & Provan, K. G. (2000). Governing the Hollow State. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 10(2), 359–379.
Mosebach, K. (2009). Commercializing German hospital care? Effects of New Public Management and managed care under neoliberal conditions. German Policy Studies, 5(1), 65–98.
Musgrave, R. A. (1959). The theory of public finance: A study in public economy. New York: McGraw Hill.
Nagyistók, S. (2010). Vizitdíj, avagy egy elvetélt kísérlet… (Co-payment or a failed attempt…). Egészségpolitika, 9(3), 29–32.
Nemec, J., & Kolisnichenko, N. (2006). Market-based health care reforms in Central and Eastern Europe: lessons after ten years of change. International Review of Administrative Sciences, 72(1), 11–26.
Nylehn, B. (2004). Privatisering som konsekvens av og middel i organiseringen av forvaltningen. Erfaringer med private barnehjemsinstitusjoner (Privatisation as a consequence and agent in public administration: Experiences with private orphanages). Norsk Statsvitenskapelig Tidsskrift, 3, 219–245.
Osborne, D., & Gaebler, T. (1993). Reinventing government: How the entrepreneurial spirit is transforming the public sector. New York: Plume.
Pfeiffer, F., & Winterhager, H. (2006). Vermittlungsgutscheine und Beauftragungen Dritter im Vergleich (Employment vouchers and third-party commissioning compared), Discussion Paper, Mannheim: Centre for European Economic Research.
Pollitt, C. (1988). Bringing consumers into performance measurement concepts: consequences and constraints. Policy and Politics, 16(2), 77–87.
Pollitt, C., & Bouckaert, G. (2011). Public management reform: A comparative analysis - new public management, governance, and the neo-weberian state. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Pollitt, C. & Dan, S. (2011). The impacts of the new public management in Europe: A meta-analysis, Report, COCOPS project.
Pollitt, C., & Dan, S. (2013). Searching for impacts in performance-oriented management reform: a review of the European literature. Public Performance & Management Review, 37(1), 7–32.
Public Administration Select Committee (2005). Choice, Voice and Public Services, Fourth Report of Session 2004–2005, Volume I, London: House of Commons.
Romanian Ministry of Health. (2010). National strategy for hospital rationalization. Bucharest: Romanian Ministry of Health.
Savas, E. (1987). Privatization. The key to better government. Chatham: Chatham House.
Schweyer, F.-X. (2010). Santé, contrat social et marché: La function publique hospitalière en réformes. Revue Française d’Administration Publique, 132, 727–744.
Stiglitz, J. E. (2000). Economics of the public sector. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.
Tummers, L. G., Jilke, S. R., & Van de Walle, S. (2013). Citizens in charge? Reviewing the background and value of introducing choice and competition in public services. In Y. K. Dwivedi, M. A. Shareef, S. K. Pandey, & V. Kumar (Eds.), Public administration reformation: Market demand from public organizations (pp. 24–42). London: Routledge.
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.
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).
About this article
Cite this article
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
- Public management reform
- Market-type mechanisms
- Service equity