IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Can Privatisation and Commercialisation of Public Services Help Achieve The MDGs? An Assessment


  • Kate Bayliss

    () (Independent Consultant, Brighton, United Kingdom)

  • Tim Kessler

    () (Centro de Investigación para el Desarrollo, A.C. Mexico City, Mexico)


Basic services are essential to reducing poverty and improving quality of life. This working paper focuses on health, education, energy and water. These services contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, as well as being goals in themselves. Over the past twenty years or so, the way in which these services are provided has been subject to considerable policy debate. There has been widespread questioning of the ability of the public sector to effectively deliver such services. Largely as a result, market-oriented solutions have been promoted as a means to overcome apparent constraints posed by state-provided services. Notwithstanding the weaknesses of state provision in many countries and localities, this working paper argues that reliance on private sector provision will fail to address the central challenges of public sector delivery. Furthermore, the process of privatisation creates an incentive framework that undermines, rather than strengthens, the accountability and capacity of the State to provide accessible and affordable services. In addition, the paper argues that the adoption of full cost recovery policies can seriously threaten achievement of the MDGs. This position does not constitute a blanket statement against private sector participation in public services or against user fees. Rather, it maintains that market-led policies fail to contribute to the MDGs and often reduce the likelihood of achieving them. Strengthening the State in assuming central responsibility for providing essential public services will help correct these setbacks.

Suggested Citation

  • Kate Bayliss & Tim Kessler, 2006. "Can Privatisation and Commercialisation of Public Services Help Achieve The MDGs? An Assessment," Working Papers 22, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
  • Handle: RePEc:ipc:wpaper:22

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2006
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Privatisation; Millennium Development Goals; Public Services; Poverty;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ipc:wpaper:22. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Andre Lyra). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.