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Introduction to The Other Invisible Hand: Delivering Public Services through Choice and Competition
[The Other Invisible Hand: Delivering Public Services through Choice and Competition]

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  • Julian Le Grand

    (London School of Economics and Political Science)

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    Abstract

    How can we ensure high-quality public services such as health care and education? Governments spend huge amounts of public money on public services such as health, education, and social care, and yet the services that are actually delivered are often low quality, inefficiently run, unresponsive to their users, and inequitable in their distribution. In this book, Julian Le Grand argues that the best solution is to offer choice to users and to encourage competition among providers. Le Grand has just completed a period as policy advisor working within the British government at the highest levels, and from this he has gained evidence to support his earlier theoretical work and has experienced the political reality of putting public policy theory into practice. He examines four ways of delivering public services: trust; targets and performance management; "voice"; and choice and competition. He argues that, although all of these have their merits, in most situations policies that rely on extending choice and competition among providers have the most potential for delivering high-quality, efficient, responsive, and equitable services. But it is important that the relevant policies be appropriately designed, and this book provides a detailed discussion of the principal features that these policies should have in the context of health care and education. It concludes with a discussion of the politics of choice.

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    Bibliographic Info

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    This chapter was published in: Julian Le Grand , , pages , 2007.

    This item is provided by Princeton University Press in its series Introductory Chapters with number 8541-1.

    Handle: RePEc:pup:chapts:8541-1

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    Web page: http://press.princeton.edu

    Related research

    Keywords: public services; health care; education; choice; competition; trust; performance management; voice;

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    Cited by:
    1. Svetlana Suslova, 2014. "The Quasi-Markets Of Social Services: The Competitiveness Of Russian Nonprofit Organizations Against For-Profit Organizations And Public Providers," HSE Working papers WP BRP 16/PA/2014, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    2. Enrico Colombatto, 2011. "Is there a health-care problem in Western societies?," ICER Working Papers 14-2011, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
    3. Hemerijck, Anton, 2011. "21st Century Welfare Provision is more than the "social insurance state": A reply to Paul Pierson," Working papers of the ZeS 03/2011, University of Bremen, Centre for Social Policy Research (ZeS).

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