Analysing the politics of public services: a service characteristics approach. London: ODI.

Research output: Contribution to conference (unpublished)Paperpeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Overseas Development Institute


The service characteristics approach, described here, was developed as a tool to explain the political dynamics of particular services. It has been tested and elaborated in discussion with specialists in health, education, water and sanitation, focusing on current debates in each sector.
 We find that service characteristics may reinforce each others’ effects on the likelihood of competitive provision, on access to and exclusion from services, on monitorability by policymakers and managers, on users’ capacity to organise demands and, ultimately, on the political salience or significance of services.
 Specific clusters of characteristics may influence the incentives and accountability of the actors (elected politicians, policymakers, providers, potential and actual users) in service provision.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


  • Public services, political characteristics

ASJC Scopus subject areas