To introduce students to a powerful and flexible set of economic principles that can be used as an aid to clear thinking about fundamental issues of public service reform, including (a) the case for and against public funding, (b) the case for and against reform, (c) the case for and against alternative strategies for reform.
To review economic theory and international evidence about four main strategies for public service reform: (1) contracting out, (2) performance management, (3) performance pay and (4) choice and competition.
Module learning outcomes
By the end of the module a student should be able to:
Understand the main market failures associated with any given public service, and present economic arguments for public funding of that service on grounds of efficiency and equity
Analyse the main government failures associated with any given public service, and present economic arguments for reform of that service on grounds of efficiency and equity
Provide a balanced and dispassionate assessment of the pros and cons of any given public service reform strategy for any given public service, based on an economically literate analysis of the policy objectives of reform and of the likely behavioural responses to reform by key players
Present argument and evidence to support their views about public service reform, as well as ideology and anecdote
Use the outcomes identified above to contribute to effective decision making and management of public services
% of module mark
Special assessment rules
% of module mark
The lead marker (the module tutor) will include comments about the content, structure, and evidence used etc. to provide you with constructive information that will enable you to improve on future work. The feedback a tutor can offer can be invaluable to your studies, so it is important you read this carefully.
Feedback will be given in three ways:
(1) Comments within the actual text will highlight specific points and examples that the marker wants to draw to your attention.
(2) The marking criteria will be highlighted to show how your assignment has been rated against those criteria. This will enable you to calibrate your performance against a consistent scale, and therefore to aim to improve in specific areas.
(3) Finally the marker will provide a narrative summary in which the main points will be set out and any major areas for improvement highlighted.
We aim to return your marked work to you within one month of its submission.
Jenkinson, T. (2003) Private finance, Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 323-334.
Pirotta. G.A, (1997), Politics and public service reform in small states: Malta, Public Administration and Development, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 197-207
Pollitt, C. (2013). The Evolving Narratives of Public Management Reform, Public Management Review, Vol. 15, No. 6, pp. 899-922.
Stiglitz, J E. (2000) Economics of the public sector (3rd edition) Norton New York, USA