What Services are Public? What Aspects of Performance are to Be Ranked? The Case of 'Services of General Interest'

International Public Management Journal, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp. 256-274, 2008

37 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2008 Last revised: 27 Nov 2008

See all articles by Steven Van de Walle

Steven Van de Walle

KU Leuven - Department of Political Science; Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Public Administration

Date Written: November 10, 2008

Abstract

In this article, we focus on the difficulties in evaluating the performance of so-called services of general interest. These services generally include such services as water and electricity supply, telephony, postal services, and public transport, where providers are subjected to certain universal service obligations. Because of the tensions between European internal market requirements and these universal service obligations, there exists considerable debate on the criteria to be used to evaluate the performance of these services. In addition, the status of these public services as 'public' or 'essential' services is disputed. Rankings of the performance of these services will always reflect a certain dominant definition of performance. Ranking schemes as a result both reflect and create performance.

Keywords: Services of General Interest, public service values, liberalisation, universal service delivery, ranking public services

JEL Classification: L32, L33, D73, H41, R53

Suggested Citation

Van de Walle, Steven, What Services are Public? What Aspects of Performance are to Be Ranked? The Case of 'Services of General Interest' (November 10, 2008). International Public Management Journal, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp. 256-274, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1298927

Steven Van de Walle (Contact Author)

KU Leuven - Department of Political Science ( email )

Public Management Institute
Van Evenstraat 2A
B-3000 Leuven
Belgium
+32 16 323614 (Phone)
+32 16 323611 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.publicmanagementinstitute.be

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Public Administration ( email )

3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands
0031 10 408 2518 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.stevenvandewalle.eu

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