Advancing Public Goods

Advancing Public Goods

The Cournot Centre series

Edited by Jean-Philippe Touffut

The studies cover topics in the conceptualization, classification and stratification of public goods. Also examined are public institutional design, global economic institutions and partnership typologies. Individual papers address the financing, regulatory, organizational and legal aspects relating to services of general interest in Europe. The dynamics of global public good production, including monopolies, patents, scientific uncertainty and market failures, are discussed. Empirical research on the state, profit and non-profit sectors is presented. Providing numerous examples of specific public goods, the contributions also highlight the impact of macroeconomic policies on provision. The book presents a broad diversity of new approaches to global public goods within the framework of mixed economies, beyond the standard economic analysis of public services.

Chapter 5: New Public Institutional Design

Xavier Greffe

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics


Xavier Greffe Reforms of the public sector and public management are among the most important projects that states have set in motion in the course of the last two decades. Marketing, the introduction of pricing, outsourcing, and management by objectives have become anchors of these reforms. Even if these phenomena are less spectacular or publicized than the big choices in political economy (monetary union, social protection policies, labour market reform), no country escapes them, whether its economy is developed, developing or in transition (OECD, 2000b). The reasons for this ineluctability are varied, even if the most frequently advanced is that of budgetary constraints, justified by the pressure of globalization, as well as the questioning of the relevance of deficits and public sector borrowing. There is, however, another equally important, competing reason, which renders the debates somewhat opaque: critical discussions over the quality of the services provided. Finally, certain international or intergovernmental organizations have defended the theme ‘less government, more governance’ in order to avoid damage by public interventions to the liberalization of markets and its expected effects (Reinecke, 1994; Wildavsky, 2001). In reality, the agenda is not so new, and the problems of budget management and public administration have never been absent in the history of the state. Still more surprising is the fact that the themes enunciated today are often themes already present in the experiences of more than 40 years ago. This leads to the question of why economic analysis has apparently contributed little...

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