Public services throughout Europe have undergone dramatic restructuring processes in recent years in connection with liberalization and privatization. While evaluations of the successes of public services have focused on prices and efficiency, much less attention has been paid to the impacts of liberalization and privatization on employment, labor relations, and working conditions. This book addresses this gap by illustrating the ways in which liberalization has contributed to increasing private and foreign ownership of public services, the decentralization of labor relations has amplified pressure on wages, and decreasing employment numbers and increasing workloads have improved productivity partly at the cost of service quality.
Examining diverse public-service sectors including network industries, public transportation, and hospitals, and using international case studies, Privatization of Public Services covers a wide range of aspects of service provision, with particular emphasis on companies and workers. The result is a unique picture of the changes created by the liberalization processes in Europe.
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Christoph Hermann is a senior researcher at FORBA, the Working Life Research Centre in Vienna and a lecturer at the Department of Government, University of Vienna.
Jörg Flecker is the scientific director of FORBA, the Working Life Research Centre in Vienna and an external professor of the University of Vienna (Faculty of Economics and Business Studies).Review:
‘Governments everywhere and of nearly all political stripes are turning to privatization of public services and goods as a means to deal with the deficits and debts incurred in stemming the Great Financial Crisis. The wisdom and veracity for doing so is challenged by this important book.’ –Bryan Evans, Ryerson University, Canada
‘Privatisation of Public Services appears at an important moment in the development of public policy. It provides a comprehensive comparative analysis of privatization as it has been carried out across a variety of sectors and in a number of highly integrated economies. Using both primary and secondary data, the authors develop a comprehensive examination of privatization and its effects on constituencies that are all too frequently left out of the analysis. This book provides an insightful, myth-busting analysis of privatization that dispels many of the assumptions that have commonly been held about this controversial policy.’ –Bob Russell, Griffith University, Australia
‘This book is an outstanding analysis of the mode and consequences of privatization and liberalisation of public services in Europe. Its comprehensive comparison of both sectors and countries makes it useful for both the academic audience and practitioners.’ –Franz Traxler, Institut für Wirtschaftssoziologie, Austria
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