3B. Designing social service markets: Risk, regulation and rent-seeking

Date: Wednesday 27 October

Time: 11.30AM–0.1.30PM

Chair: Professor Gabrielle Meagher, Macquarie University 

Session overview

In rich democracies around the world, governments are increasingly using market designs and logics to re-organise and/or extend provision of social services. Policy-makers typically justify marketisation with claims that consumers benefit from greater choice, higher quality services, and more diverse, innovative and efficient providers. The extent to which social service markets deliver on policy-makers’ goals depends on how these markets are designed and how actors behave in them. This session brings together policy researchers across the social sciences who examine the dynamics of markets for several publicly-funded social services in Australia for a forthcoming collection. Together their findings suggest that that Australian governments’ marketising efforts have produced fragile and fragmented service systems, in which risks of rent-seeking, resource leakage and regulatory capture are high. Panellists present their main findings on specific social service sectors, including family day care, Indigenous employment services and retirement incomes, and consider ways forward.  


Marketisation in Australian social services: an overview          
Gabrielle Meagher, Macquarie University  

Quality and marketised care: the case of family day care
Natasha Cortis, Megan Blaxland & Elizabeth Adamson - UNSW Social Policy Research Centre 

The development and significance of marketisation in refugee settlement services  
Adele Garnier, Université Laval, Montréal  

Out of sight, out of mind? Markets and employment services in remote Indigenous communities         
Diana Perche, UNSW Sydney    

Marketisation in disability services: a history of the NDIS     
Georgia van Toorn, UNSW Sydney   

Designing public subsidies for private markets: Rent seeking, inequality and child care policy           
Adam Stebbing, Macquarie University    

Public providers – making human service markets work     
Bob Davidson, Macquarie University                                                                                                                                                                                    

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