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Bringing Citizens Back In: Renewing Public Service Regulation

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  • Clifton, Judith
  • Díaz-Fuentes, Daniel
  • Fernández Gutiérrez, Marcos
  • Revuelta, Julio

Abstract

This essay concerns the ways in which public services – particularly household services such as communications, energy, water and transportation – have been regulated and deregulated, and analyses what consequences this has for users and citizens. Much of the deregulation of public services from the 1980s – liberalization, privatization and New Public Management – was justified by claims that reform would provide users with more choice, whilst they would receive cheaper and better quality services. Little account was taken of the fact that users are highly heterogeneous, that socio-economic differences might be important in determining their consumption of public services, and that this may not lead to socially optimum outcomes. By examining consumption patterns in two large European countries, Spain and the UK, through an analysis of revealed and declared preferences, this paper sheds light on how socio-economic differences among households help determine public service consumption. The main findings are that the supposed benefits of public service deregulation are not evenly spread across populations, and that specifically targeted “bottom-up” regulation from the demand-side could usefully address these issues, thus improving social welfare.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 33051.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:33051

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Keywords: Regulation; Privatization; Public Services; Telecommunications; Electricity; Gas and water;

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  1. Clifton, Judith & Díaz-Fuentes, Daniel, 2008. "Evaluating EU policies on public services: a citizens´ perspective," MPRA Paper 9420, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Fabienne Ilzkovitz & Adriaan Dierx & Nuno Sousa, 2008. "An analysis of the possible causes of product market malfunctioning in the EU: First results for manufacturing and service sectors," European Economy - Economic Papers, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission 336, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  3. Judith Clifton & Francisco Comín & Daniel Díaz Fuentes, 2005. "‘Empowering Europe'S Citizens’?," Public Management Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(3), pages 417-443, September.
  4. Kahneman, Daniel, 2002. "Maps of Bounded Rationality," Nobel Prize in Economics documents, Nobel Prize Committee 2002-4, Nobel Prize Committee.
  5. Carlo Vittorio FIORIO & Massimo FLORIO, 2008. "Do you pay a fair price for electricity? Consumers? satisfaction and utility reform in the EU," Departmental Working Papers, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano 2008-12, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
  6. Emanuele BACCHIOCCHI & Massimo FLORIO & Marco GAMBARO, 2008. "Telecom prices, regulatory reforms, and consumers? satisfaction: evidence for 15 EU countries," Departmental Working Papers, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano 2008-10, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano, revised 20 Jun 2008.
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