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The nature of a public service.

Spicker, Paul


Paul Spicker


Public services have been misunderstood. They are not simply services in the public sector, they are not necessarily there because of market failure, and they cannot be analysed by the same criteria as market-based provision. They have four defining characteristics. They exist for reasons of policy; they provide services to the public; they are redistributive; and they act as a trust. They consequently operate differently from production for profit, in their priorities, costs, capacity and outputs.


SPICKER, P. 2009. The nature of a public service. International journal of public administration [online], 32(11), pages 970-991. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 10, 2009
Online Publication Date Sep 10, 2009
Publication Date Oct 14, 2009
Deposit Date Oct 2, 2013
Publicly Available Date Oct 2, 2013
Journal International journal of public administration
Print ISSN 0190-0692
Electronic ISSN 1532-4265
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 32
Issue 11
Pages 970-991
Keywords Public services; Market failure; Social services
Public URL


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