Coproduction and equity in public service delivery

  • Jakobsen M
  • Andersen S
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Public managers and researchers devote much attention to the benefits of coproduction, or the mixing of the productive efforts of public employees and citizens in public service design and delivery. One concern, however, is the distributional consequences of coproduction. This article proposes that disadvantaged citizens may be constrained by a lack of knowledge or other resources necessary to contribute to and benefit from the coproduction process. From this assumption, the authors develop the theoretical argument that if coproduction programs were designed to lift constraints on disadvantaged citizens, they might increase both efficiency and equity. This claim is tested using a field experiment on educational services. A coproduction program providing immigrant parents with knowledge and materials useful to their children's early educational development had a substantial positive impact on the educational outcomes of disadvantaged children, thereby diminishing inequity. Economically, the program was more efficient than later compensation of low-performing children.

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  • Morten Jakobsen

  • Simon Calmar Andersen

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