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The comparative advantage of the public sector in the development of urban water supply

Emanuele Lobina () and David Hall
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David Hall: David Hall is at PSIRU, Business School, University of Greenwich Old Royal Naval College, Park Row, London SE10 9LS, UK

Progress in Development Studies, 2008, vol. 8, issue 1, 85-101

Abstract: This paper addresses the potential of public water operations in achieving developmental goals such as the Millennium Development Goals, and argues that the public sector has a comparative advantage in developing water services. The global importance of the public sector in urban water supply is examined through a review of current practice in the world's largest cities, including operational presence and distribution and ongoing trends. Empirical evidence shows that, in transition and developing countries, public operators are capable of undergoing successful reform. One explanatory factor is proposed to be the creation through the public sphere of highly interconnected networks among stakeholders. Such accountability networks act as vehicles for the generation and distribution of public knowledge among stakeholders, which in turn inform rational decision making on the reform and management of operations.

Keywords: Urban water supply; private sector participation; public sector; governance; knowledge; accountability networks. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2008
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