Coordinating for Cohesion in the Public Sector of the Future

WP4: Satisfaction, voice and choice

Satisfaction, choice, and voice in European public sectors: citizens as customers and the challenge of cohesion


  • To analyse longitudinal trends in citizen satisfaction with public services and their reported behavior (complaining, exercising choice) in the EU member countries, using Eurobarometer data
  • To get insight into patterns of citizen satisfaction and reported behavior for different socio-economic groups
  • To develop models to explain divergence or convergence of citizen satisfaction and reported behavior
  • To design a vulnerability map to make locations and trends in (dis)satisfaction with public services visible

Work description

In this WP we will perform a 10-year longitudinal analysis on citizen satisfaction with liberalized public services and their behavior. The assumption behind many NPM-style reforms, especially the liberalization of public services, is that these reforms would lead to higher citizen and customer satisfaction.
The purpose of this WP is furthermore, to detect different trends in such longitudinal satisfaction and behavior of different socio-economic groups to test the commonly held assumption that NPM-style reforms, such as the liberalization of utilities and public transport, have lead to a two-track public services. This assumption posits that especially well-educated, vocal and wealthy citizens have benefited from liberalization, because they are able to loudly express voice and exercise choice, while the position of more vulnerable citizens vis-à-vis these services has weakened. The result would be a decline in social cohesion.
If this assumption is correct, we should see divergent public attitudes between ‘vulnerable’ and ‘strong’ citizens-as-customers, as measured by income levels and education.

Work package related output:

Academic publications


Jilke, S. (forthcoming). Choice and Equality: Are vulnerable citizens worse-off after liberalization reforms? Public Administrationopen-access-version

Van de Walle, S. & Jilke, S. (forthcoming). Savings in public services after the Crisis: A multilevel analysis of public preferences in the EU27. International Review of Administrative Sciencesopen-access-version


Clifton, J., Díaz-Fuentes, D. & Fernández-Gutiérrez, M. (2014). The impact of socio-economic background on satisfaction: evidence for policy-makers. Journal of Regulatory Economics: 1-24. open-access-version


Andrews, R. & Van de Walle, S. (2013). New Public Management and citizens’ perceptions of local service efficiency, responsiveness, equity and effectiveness. Public Management Review15 (5): 762-783. open-access-version

Tummers, L., Jilke, S. & Van de Walle, S. (2013). Citizens in charge? An overview of the background and value of introducing choice in public services. In Y.K. Dwivedi, M.A. Shareef, S.K. Pandey & V. Kumar (eds), Public Administration Reformation: Market Demand from Public Organizations. London: Routledge. open-access-version


Dan, S., Jilke, S., Pollitt, C., Van Delft, R., Van de Walle, S. & Van Thiel, S. (2012). Effects of privatization and agencification on citizens and citizenship: an international comparison. Background Study for the Parliamentary Inquiry by the Dutch Senate into Privatization and Agencification. The Hague: Enquete Commission of the First Chamber of the Dutch Senate. open-access-version

Jilke, S. & Van de Walle, S. (2012). Two-Track public services? Citizens’ voice behavior towards liberalized services in the EU15. Public Management Review15(4): 465-476open-access-version

Further academic publications can be accessed here.

COCOPS research reports, working papers and policy briefs

Regulatory reform for services of general interest and trends in citizen satisfaction. COCOPS Research Report (by J. Clifton, D. Diaz-Fuentes, M. Fernandez-Guiterrez, O. James, S. Jilke & S. Van de Walle, 2012)

Satisfaction, Voice and Choice in European Public Services. COCOPS Policy Brief 2 (by J. Clifton, D. Diaz-Fuentes, M. Fernandez-Guiterrez, O. James, S. Jilke & S. Van de Walle, 2012)

Choice and Equality – Citizens’ Switching Behaviour in Liberalized Public Service Markets Across the EU. COCOPS Working Paper No.10 (by S. Jilke, 2012)

The Brave new world of public infrastructure: Is market-oriented reform producing a ‘two-track’ Europe? COCOPS Working Paper No.2 (by J. Clifton, D. Diaz-Fuentes, M. Fernandez-Guiterrez & J. Revuelta, 2011)

Work package leader:

Oliver James
University of Exeter
Department of Politics
United Kingdom

This page has been modified on 27 July 2011