The familiar market-failure model remains quite useful for issues of price efficiency and traditional utilitarianism, but it has many shortcomings as a standard for public-value aspects of public policy and management. In a public-value-failure model, I present criteria for diagnosing values problems that are not easily addressed by market-failure models. Public-value failure occurs when: (1) mechanisms for values articulation and aggregation have broken down; (2) "imperfect monopolies" occur; (3) benefit hoarding occurs; (4) there is a scarcity of providers of public value; (5) a short time horizon threatens public value; (6) a focus on substitutability of assets threatens conservation of public resources; and (7) market transactions threaten fundamental human subsistence. After providing examples for diagnosis of public-values failure, including an extended example concerning the market for human organs, I introduce a "public-failure grid" to facilitate values choices in policy and public management.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Public Administration