Addressing public-value failure: Remunicipalization as acts of public entrepreneurship

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The idea of “pragmatism” provides a successful account explaining why municipalities re-internalize previously privatized responsibilities for service delivery. This paper develops the idea by accounting for remunicipalization in contexts defined by failures with service innovation – rather than delivery – under privatization. This account highlights remunicipalization as an act of public entrepreneurship and offers a complementary explanation for the dynamics in local service restructuring. Analytical utility is demonstrated in a case study of the restructuring of local energy supply in Aalborg Municipality, Denmark. In perspective, the paper refines the understanding of contexts, behaviours, and dynamics leading to remunicipalizations in the twenty-first century.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Economic Policy Reform
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)380-397
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2021


  • Case study
  • energy sector
  • green transformation
  • privatization
  • public enterprises
  • public-value failure
  • remunicipalization


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