Motivation, Agency, and Public Policy: Of Knights and Knaves, Pawns and Queens (Paperback)
  • Motivation, Agency, and Public Policy: Of Knights and Knaves, Pawns and Queens (Paperback)
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Motivation, Agency, and Public Policy: Of Knights and Knaves, Pawns and Queens (Paperback)

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£41.49
Paperback Published: 29/06/2006
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Can we rely on the altruism of professionals or the public service ethos to deliver good quality health and education services? And how should patients, parents, and pupils behave - as grateful recipients or active consumers?

This book provides new answers to these questions - a milestone in the analysis and development of public policy, from one of the leading thinkers in the field. It provides a new perspective on policy design, emphasising the importance of analysing the motivation of professionals and others who work within the public sector, and both their and public service beneficiaries' capacity for agency or independent action. It argues that the conventional assumption that public sector professionals are public-spirited altruists or 'knights' is misplaced; but so is the alternative that they are all, in David Hume's terminology, 'knaves' or self-interested egoists. We also must not assume that individual citizens are passive recipients of public services (pawns); but nor can they be untrammelled sovereigns with unrestricted choices over services and resources (queens). Instead, policies must be designed so as to give the proper balance of motivation and agency.

The book illustrates how this can be done by detailed empirical examination of recent policies in health services, education, social security and taxation. It puts forwards proposals for policy reform, several of which either originated with the author or with which he has been closely associated: universal capital or 'demogrants', discriminating vouchers, matching grants for pensions and for long-term care, and hypothecated taxes.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199298914
Weight: 397 g
Dimensions: 233 x 157 x 15 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

'... a fascinating new book ... short, accessible and profound.' - The Economist

'... splendid book.' - The Spectator

'His arguments are lively and original.' - John Rentoul, The Independent

'This book is significant on two counts: for what it says and for who is saying it. ...an important book...well written and free of jargon.' - Prospect

'This important book develops a number of arguments ... The book is bold and ambitious in the way that it moves from concepts to policies ... The book is also powerful and compelling in its advocacy of quasi-markets ... works best as an analysis of how the diverse motivations of welfare providers can be channelled to ensure that benefits and services are both delivered more efficiently and become more responsive to the needs and aspirations of those who receive them.' - Social Policy and Society

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