Public sector

Public sector

The public sector is the part of economic and administrative life that deals with the delivery of goods and services by and for the government, whether national, regional or local/municipal.

Examples of public sector activity range from delivering social security, administering urban planning and organising national defenses.

The organization of the public sector (public ownership) can take several forms, including:

*Direct administration funded through taxation; the delivering organization generally has no specific requirement to meet commercial success criteria, and production decisions are determined by government.
*Publicly owned corporations (in some contexts, especially manufacturing, "state-owned enterprises"); which differ from direct administration in that they have greater commercial freedoms and are expected to operate according to commercial criteria, and production decisions are not generally taken by government (although goals may be set for them by government).
*Partial outsourcing (of the scale many businesses do, e.g. for IT services), is considered a public sector model.

A borderline form is
*Complete outsourcing or contracting out, with a privately owned corporation delivering the entire service on behalf of government. This may be considered a mixture of private sector operations with public ownership of assets, although in some forms the private sector's control and/or risk is so great that the service may no longer be considered part of the public sector. (See Britain's Private Finance Initiative.)

In spite of their name, public companies are not part of the public sector; they are a particular kind of private sector company that can offer their shares for sale to the general public.

The decision about what are proper matters for the public sector as opposed to the private sector is probably the single most important dividing line among socialist, liberal, conservative, and libertarian political philosophy, with (broadly) socialists preferring greater state involvement, libertarians favoring minimal state involvement, and conservatives and liberals favoring state involvement in some aspects of the society but not others.

ee also

* Government agency
* Nonprofit sector
* Private sector


*Lloyd G. Nigro, Decision Making in the Public Sector (1984), Marcel Dekker Inc .
*David G. Carnevale, Organizational Development in the Public Sector (2002), Westview Pr.
*Jan-Erik Lane, The Public Sector: Concepts, Models and Approaches (1995), Sage Pubns.
*A Primer on Public-Private Partnerships

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • public-sector — UK US adjective [before noun] ECONOMICS, GOVERNMENT ► used to refer to businesses and industries that are owned or controlled by the government, or things that are related to these businesses and industries: public sector… …   Financial and business terms

  • public sector — public .sector n the public sector the industries and services in a country that are owned and run by the government →the private sector in the public sector ▪ a job in the public sector ▪ public sector workers ▪ public sector housing …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • public sector — noun singular the industries and services, for example schools, that are supported by tax money and controlled by the government of a country or an area: The typical member of Senate has worked elsewhere in the public sector. public sector… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • public sector — ➔ sector …   Financial and business terms

  • public sector — n. The part of the economy controlled by the government, not by private individuals working for profit. See also private sector The Essential Law Dictionary. Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. Amy Hackney Blackwell. 2008 …   Law dictionary

  • public sector — ► NOUN ▪ the part of an economy that is controlled by the state …   English terms dictionary

  • public sector — the area of the nation s affairs under governmental rather than private control. Cf. private sector. [1950 55] * * * noun [singular] : the part of an economy which is controlled or owned by the government She has a job in the public sector.… …   Useful english dictionary

  • public sector — N SING: the N The public sector is the part of a country s economy which is controlled or supported financially by the government. ...Carlos Menem s policy of reducing the public sector and opening up the economy to free market forces... To keep… …   English dictionary

  • public sector — noun (singular) the industries and services in a country that are owned and run by the government: a job in the public sector | public sector employees compare private sector …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • public sector — / pʌblɪk ˌsektə/ noun nationalised industries and services ● a report on wage rises in the public sector or on public sector wage settlements Also called government sector …   Dictionary of banking and finance

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