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Market Mechanisms in Public Service Provision


  • Hansjörg Blöchliger



This paper presents a new set of institutional indicators that assess how sub-central governments harness market mechanisms such as tendering, outsourcing, user choice and competition, user fees and output-related funding when providing public services. Services put under scrutiny comprise primary, secondary and tertiary education, hospital care, childcare and elderly care, public transport, and waste collection. Results indicate that governments are often reluctant to apply market mechanisms when providing public services. “Technical” services such as transport or waste collection are more open to market mechanisms than “social” services like education or health care. Regulatory innovations such as tendering, competition or user choice are more advanced than financial innovations like user fees or output-related funding for service providers. Le rôle des mécanismes du marché dans les services publics Ce document présent un nouvel ensemble d’indicateurs institutionnels qui évaluent comment les administrations infranationales en tant que prestataires de services publics font appel aux mécanismes du marché comme les appels d’offres, la sous-traitance, le choix des usagers, la concurrence, les redevances et le financement lié au résultat. Les services examinés ici comprennent l’éducation primaire, secondaire et tertiaire, les soins hospitaliers, les soins à la petite enfance et aux personnes âgées, les transports publics et la collecte des déchets. Les résultats montrent que les administrations publiques sont souvent réticentes à appliquer les mécanismes du marché. Les services « techniques » tels que les transports ou la collecte des déchets sont plus ouverts aux mécanismes du marché que les services « sociaux » tels que l’éducation ou les soins de santé. Les innovations réglementaires comme les appels d’offre, la concurrence ou le choix des usagers sont plus nombreuses que les innovations financières comme les redevances ou le financement lié au résultat.

Suggested Citation

  • Hansjörg Blöchliger, 2008. "Market Mechanisms in Public Service Provision," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 626, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:626-en

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    Cited by:

    1. De Borger, Bruno & Proost, Stef, 2015. "The political economy of public transport pricing and supply decisions," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 95-109.
    2. Bruno Borger & Stef Proost, 2016. "The political economy of pricing and capacity decisions for congestible local public goods in a federal state," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(5), pages 934-959, October.
    3. Hansjörg Blöchliger, 2013. "Fiscal Consolidation Across Government Levels - Part 1. How Much, What Policies?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1070, OECD Publishing.
    4. Robert P. Hagemann, 2012. "Fiscal Consolidation: Part 6. What Are the Best Policy Instruments for Fiscal Consolidation?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 937, OECD Publishing.
    5. Christine André & Philippe Batifoulier & Mariana Jansen-Ferreira, 2016. "Privatisation de la santé en Europe. Un outil de classification des réformes," CEPN Working Papers hal-01256505, HAL.

    More about this item


    choix de l'usager; competition; concurrence; fiscal federalism; fédéralisme financier; privatisation; privatisation; public services; services publics; user choice;

    JEL classification:

    • H42 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Private Goods
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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