The Politics of Public Services: A Service Characteristics Approach

Politics is widely regarded as affecting and being affected by the performance of public services, yet little research differentiates between services in exploring these effects. This article in World Development addresses this gap by proposing a framework for understanding and comparing the politics of different services.

It identifies how the nature of the good, type of market failure, tasks involved in delivery, and demand for a service – hitherto regarded largely as economic and managerial concerns – affect political commitment, organisational control, and user power. Policy responses can be targeted to address service characteristics where they present opportunitiesfor, or constraints to, better services.

The article in World Development is co-authored by DLP researcher Claire Mcloughlin.

About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

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