The Political Economy of Public Values: A Case for the Public Sphere and Progressive Opportunity

Barry Bozeman, Japera Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


During the years that have elapsed since the publication of Moore’s and Bozeman’s quite different theories of public value, a great deal of attention has been focused on the public value(s) topic. In this essay, we discuss the evolution of the respective approaches, but particular attention is given to the criteria Bozeman established as “public values failure criteria,” a set of ideas juxtaposed against and influenced by market failure criteria. We suggest two new criteria worth adding to the original Bozeman model. The first of these is related to Moore’s work on the “public sphere.” We offer a somewhat different definition of “public sphere,” one that seems compatible with public values failure criteria. The second criterion pertains to “progressive opportunity,” a criterion taking into account the injurious potential of social inequities. We show the two criteria are especially relevant to the concerns in contemporary political economy disputes and that the two desiderata reinforce one another.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-85
Number of pages25
JournalAmerican Review of Public Administration
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 3 2015


  • administrative theory
  • governance
  • public administration
  • public values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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