When is a Service an Essential Public Service?

Posted: 18 Jun 2009

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

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Date Written: June 17, 2009

Abstract

Citizens consider certain public (and private) services as essential services and therefore to be shielded from the full extent of market forces. Little is known about why some services are considered essential public services while other sometimes very similar services are not. In this article, we analyse public opinion using Eurobarometer data to test models exploring what factors determine whether citizens in 15 EU countries consider certain services as essential services and therefore to be provided to all. Despite the variety in public opinion, political orientations and geographic factors do little to explain why citizens have different opinions about the provision of public services. The article ends by outlining a research agenda for the further analysis of this underexplored research topic.

Keywords: Services of General Interest, public service values, liberalisation, essential public services, political attitudes

JEL Classification: H40, H41, L32, L33, D73

Suggested Citation

Van de Walle, Steven, When is a Service an Essential Public Service? (June 17, 2009). Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Vol. 80, No. 4, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1421414

Steven Van de Walle (Contact Author)

KU Leuven - Department of Political Science ( email )

Public Management Institute
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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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