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Viability of municipal companies in the provision of urban infrastructure services

da Cruz, Nuno F. ORCID: 0000-0003-3381-6359 and Marques, Rui Cunha (2011) Viability of municipal companies in the provision of urban infrastructure services. Local Government Studies, 37 (1). pp. 93-110. ISSN 0300-3930

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Identification Number: 10.1080/03003930.2010.548551


This article discusses the organisational and institutional model of municipal company in the provision of urban infrastructure services in Portugal. The law recently enacted which defined the legal regime for the local business sector, as well as the growing awareness that the new public management models represent great advantages in comparison with the bureaucratic ones that characterise the traditional public administration, make this a current and relevant issue. For the purpose of investigating the viability of this provision model, this research encompasses three complementary analyses. First, the results obtained from a nationwide questionnaire on the features of municipal companies are analysed. Second, a SWOT matrix is constructed to examine the model of municipal company and, third, the total factor productivity (TFP) of these organisations is determined using the index number theory, in order to evaluate their performance and compare it with that of the traditional bureaucratic models. Although the concept of municipal company is based on noble principles and, in theory, it shows advantages compared to other means of service provision, this research points to very negative results regarding the model and leads to the conclusion that the aimed benefits are not achieved in Portugal. There are many causes contributing to this effect, but the political patronage of these companies and the lack of technical competence are presumably two of the most significant ones.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2011 Taylor & Francis
Divisions: LSE Cities
Subjects: J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2014 11:42
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 01:22

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