1. Government Organizations

Social Triangle
Example Poster

[1] State (government)

This position represents the archetypical state role: a public organization, governmental, non-profit oriented for the provision of public goods. This is the type of entity most people refer to when they talk about ‘governments’ or the ‘public sector’.

Agency Challenges

  • Government officials act in their private interests (clientelism/power/influence/status/job aspirations); kleptocracy/enrichment; nepotism (appointing trustees to essential positions);
  • Regulatory capture, government officials are influenced by vested interests (lobby groups, corporate interests);
  • Government officials act in accordance with own convictions, ideology, priorities (not aligned with public cause/democratic majority).

Typical Strengths

  • Coordination in public goods provision;
  • Protecting public interest;
  • Coercion and enforcement measures to prevent free-riding, transgression, misbehaviour;
  • Redistributive, allocative and diffusing power (i.e. welfare, income, wellbeing, knowledge and information);
  • Creating stability/continuity;
  • Internalization of external effects.

Typical Weaknesses

  • Lacking efficiency: public goods provision requires a high degree of transparency, accountability and organizational bureaucracy, which increases transaction and switching costs;
  • Increasing efficiency may compromise effectiveness, legality, (democratic) legitimacy and procedural and distributive justice;
  • The continuity of long-term programs, due to short-term electoral cycles, political opportunism; populist promises during election.
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