Citizens and co-production of welfare services: childcare in eight European countries
Victor Pestoff
Public Management Review, 8 (4), December 2006
"A growing number of scholars question the sustainability of liberal representative democracy and a welfare state dominated by the big organizations in both the public and private sectors. The state is over extended and democracy is stretched to its limits. Walzer proposes to democratize the means of distributing welfare services by greater citizen involvement, while Hirst calls for devolving many of the functions of the state to civil society. However, missing from such macro proposals is a micro perspective of citizens co-producers. The first part of this presentation introduces the concept of co-production, with a focus on greater citizen participation in the provision of public services. A review of the literature demonstrates several advantages of co-production, but also some major hurdles. The second part ties the concept of co-production to a discussion of parents' participation in the provision of childcare services in Europe. Finally, the importance of co-production for promoting the development and renewal of democracy and the welfare state is discussed."
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