The politics of public services : a service characteristics approach

Richard Batley, Claire Mcloughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)
444 Downloads (Pure)


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. The article 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, organizational control, and user power. Policy responses can be targeted to address service characteristics where they present opportunities or constraints to better services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-285
JournalWorld Development
Early online date14 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015


  • politics of public services
  • service characteristics
  • accountability
  • information asymmetry
  • public goods
  • user power


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