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Motivation, Agency, and Public PolicyOf Knights and Knaves, Pawns and Queens$
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Julian Le Grand

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199266999

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2004

DOI: 10.1093/0199266999.001.0001

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Agency and Public Services

Agency and Public Services

(p.73) 5 Agency and Public Services
Motivation, Agency, and Public Policy

Julian Le Grand (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Discusses the fundamental agency question as to the relative balance of power between individual users and professionals with respect to public services such as health care and education. It examines arguments concerning market and individual ‘failure’, and concludes that the best service is one that treats the users of the service as queens not pawns: i.e. a health care service empowers patients and an education system empowers parents or pupils. But it would also incorporate mechanisms that avoid the overuse or over‐provision of the service concerned, or the use of the service in such a way that damages either the users themselves or the wider society. And it would provide appropriate incentives for providers to deliver such a service, relying upon the appropriate balance of self‐interested and altruistic motivations.

Keywords:   agency, education, empowerment, health care, individual failure, market failure, parents, patients, professionals

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