The Reform of Local Public Services of General Interest in Europe
The benefits of a reduced supply of local public services may more than outweigh the supposed welfare losses. This was suggested by various theoretical and empirical investigations in many fields of economics during the last decades. Nevertheless, local and national politicians, trade unionists, charities, and other lobbyists have succeeded in preventing further liberalisation of “services of general interest” in Europe. This article examines why these preserve agents have been and are still successful. The analysis is based on an institutional economic approach. Several policy measures and institutional changes are suggested to either reduce influence of preserve agents or to compensate them for their losses.