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The Value of Choice in Public Policy

Dowding, Keith; John, Peter

Description

Conceptualizing and measuring choice is problematic both in theory and in practice. Measuring by counting the alternatives seems counter-intuitive as a smaller set of better or more diverse alternatives seems to provide more choice than one that is simply larger. However, concentrating upon better alternatives leads to choice being defined by welfare or utility which is also counter-intuitive. The implications of this paradox are considered in relation to examples drawn from the choice agenda...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorDowding, Keith
dc.contributor.authorJohn, Peter
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-08T22:30:27Z
dc.identifier.issn0033-3298
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/34449
dc.description.abstractConceptualizing and measuring choice is problematic both in theory and in practice. Measuring by counting the alternatives seems counter-intuitive as a smaller set of better or more diverse alternatives seems to provide more choice than one that is simply larger. However, concentrating upon better alternatives leads to choice being defined by welfare or utility which is also counter-intuitive. The implications of this paradox are considered in relation to examples drawn from the choice agenda in British social policy. Empirical difficulties in measuring the welfare gains through implementing greater choice at a time of other central-led policy initiatives such as targets are discussed, and the extant evidence discussed. Criteria for judging whether or not choice has been welfare-enhancing are suggested. It is argued that 'soft choice' where service providers provide information and explain different options is preferable to 'hard' choice of simplistic targets to increase choice by ticking target boxes.
dc.publisherBlackwell Publishing Ltd
dc.sourcePublic Administration
dc.subjectKeywords: preference behavior; public administration; service provision; social policy; welfare economics; Eurasia; Europe; United Kingdom; Western Europe
dc.titleThe Value of Choice in Public Policy
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume87
dc.date.issued2009
local.identifier.absfor160510 - Public Policy
local.identifier.ariespublicationu4317071xPUB113
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationDowding, Keith, College of Arts and Social Sciences, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationJohn, Peter, University of Manchester
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.issue2
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage219
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage233
local.identifier.doi10.1111/j.1467-9299.2008.01732.x
dc.date.updated2016-02-24T10:54:14Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-66349135000
local.identifier.thomsonID000266339800004
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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