Measuring and Improving Productivity in Services

Measuring and Improving Productivity in Services

Issues, Strategies and Challenges

Services, Economy and Innovation series

Faridah Djellal and Faïz Gallouj

The definition and measurement of productivity in services raises important conceptual, methodological and strategic problems. This book aims to provide a critical review of the main debates on productivity in the domain of services. The first part examines the theoretical consequences of services specificities on the concept of productivity and reviews the attempts to measure it. The second part is devoted to the main determinants of productivity growth and the strategies to increase productivity in service firms and organisations.

Chapter 7: Productivity Factors in Public Services

Faridah Djellal and Faïz Gallouj

Subjects: economics and finance, industrial economics, services


INTRODUCTION As we noted in the general introduction, the relationship between public services and productivity can be considered at two different levels. The first is productivity in the public sector itself and the second is the influence that public services exert, particularly through the various public policies, on the other sectors of the economy. The importance of this second level in the case of the Department of the Economy and Finance is obvious. However, it is equally relevant in the case of the Department of Health Care or the Department of Education which, by improving individuals’ health and knowledge, have a positive influence on the national economy. Although the focus here is on the first level, that is the question of productivity (and performance) within the public sector, it is clearly difficult to dissociate this question from that of productivity (and performance) influenced by the public sector. This chapter is divided into three parts. In the first part, we briefly examine some of the real and assumed specificities of public services and their consequences for productivity levers and strategies. The second part is concerned with general strategies and policies for improving productivity in government services. The emphasis here is on general levers and recommendations; at this stage, actual applications to a particular government department are disregarded. The third part is given over to an examination of the way in which these ‘general policies’ are applied to particular departments as a whole (organizational level)...

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