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Quality of Public Services: Irish Public Perceptions and Implications for Renewal


  • Watson, Dorothy


In the context of the recession and the need to deliver public services with maximum efficiency, this paper asks what lessons can be drawn from public perceptions of service quality in Ireland. In particular, it asks to what extent public services are meeting the needs and expectations of those most reliant on them - vulnerable groups in the population who cannot afford the option of 'going private'. Data from the European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS), 2007 are used to examine variations in the perceived quality of five public services in Ireland (health, education, public transport, care services for older adults and the state pension). The questions addressed are: ? How does Ireland compare with other European countries in terms of the perceived quality of public services? ? Are there differences between the economically deprived and the well-to-do in terms of how the quality of public services is assessed? ? What are the implications for policy on public sector reform? The results suggested that perceptions of the quality of public services tend to be low in Ireland, relative to other European countries, but that the perceptions varied across services. Public perceptions of health services, for instance, tend to be less positive than perceptions of education. Across four of the five services, those who were economically vulnerable gave a less positive evaluation. The implications of the results for public sector reform are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Watson, Dorothy, 2011. "Quality of Public Services: Irish Public Perceptions and Implications for Renewal," Papers EC6, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:esr:wpaper:ec6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Adriana Castelli & Rowena Jacobs & Maria Goddard & Peter C Smith, 2009. "Exploring the impact of public services on quality of life indicators," Working Papers 046cherp, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.
    2. Christopher T. Whelan & Bertrand Maitre, 2010. "Identifying Economically Vulnerable Groups as the Economic Crisis Emerged," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 41(4), pages 501-525.
    3. Dorothy Watson, 1992. "Correcting for Acquiescent Response Bias in the Absence of a Balanced Scale," Sociological Methods & Research, , vol. 21(1), pages 52-88, August.
    4. António Afonso & Ludger Schuknecht & Vito Tanzi, 2005. "Public sector efficiency: An international comparison," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 123(3), pages 321-347, June.
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