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Knights and knaves return: public service motivation and the delivery of public services

Le Grand, Julian (2010) Knights and knaves return: public service motivation and the delivery of public services. International Public Management Journal, 13 (1). pp. 56-71. ISSN 1096-7494

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Identification Number: 10.1080/10967490903547290


There are several models for delivering public services such as health care or education, most of which can be summarised under the headings of trust, mistrust, voice, and choice. Each contains assumptions concerning the motivation of the professionals and others who provide the service concerned: that is, the extent to which they are “knaves,” motivated primarily by self-interest, or “knights,” motivated by altruism and the desire to provide a public service. This article highlights the assumptions concerning motivation implicit in each of the delivery models, illustrating the points made by reference to the author's experience as a senior policy adviser to British Prime Minister Tony Blair and to some evidence on the performance of public services under the different models.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2010 Taylor & Francis Group
Divisions: Social Policy
LSE Health
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
JEL classification: I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I18 - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
Sets: Departments > Social Policy
Research centres and groups > LSE Health
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2011 16:22
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2021 01:44

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