Public Value


Public Value is a concept that refers to the collective benefit, well-being, and overall improvement in quality of life experienced by the members of society. It encompasses the value created by public institutions, such as government agencies and non-profit organizations, through the provision of public goods and services, policy-making, and the promotion of social and economic equity. Public value is often assessed based on the impact of these actions on the lives of citizens and the community as a whole.

Purpose and Role

The purpose of public value is to guide public institutions and organizations in their decision-making, resource allocation, and performance measurement to ensure that their actions contribute positively to society. The role of public value includes:

  • Guiding policy and decision-making: Public value serves as a guiding principle for policymakers and public managers to prioritize actions that address societal needs and improve the well-being of citizens.
  • Resource allocation: Public value helps public institutions to allocate resources effectively and efficiently to maximize societal benefits.
  • Performance measurement: Public value provides a framework for evaluating the performance of public institutions, measuring their impact on society, and ensuring accountability to the public.


Key components of public value include:

  • Public goods and services: Essential goods and services provided by public institutions, such as education, healthcare, public safety, and infrastructure, contribute to the well-being of citizens.
  • Social and economic equity: Public value encompasses the promotion of equal opportunities, social justice, and the reduction of inequalities in society.
  • Environmental sustainability: Public value includes the preservation and protection of natural resources, the promotion of sustainable practices, and the mitigation of environmental degradation.
  • Democratic governance: Public value is closely linked to democratic principles, such as transparency, participation, and accountability, which ensure that public institutions act in the best interest of citizens.


Public value is important for several reasons:

  • Promotes societal well-being: By focusing on public value, public institutions can better address societal needs and enhance the overall quality of life for citizens.
  • Ensures accountability: Public value helps ensure that public institutions are accountable for their actions and the impact they have on society.
  • Informs policy and decision-making: Public value provides a framework for evaluating the effectiveness of policies and decisions, guiding public institutions to make choices that benefit society as a whole.

Pros and Cons


  • Focus on collective benefits: Public value emphasizes the importance of collective well-being over individual or private interests, promoting more equitable and sustainable societies.
  • Promotes good governance: By adopting a public value approach, public institutions are encouraged to operate transparently, responsibly, and accountably.

Inclusive decision-making: Public value encourages the participation of citizens in the decision-making process, ensuring that diverse perspectives and needs are considered.


  • Difficult to measure: Quantifying and measuring public value can be challenging, as it often involves a wide range of factors and subjective assessments of well-being.
  • Resource constraints: Public institutions may face limited resources, which can hinder their ability to maximize public value.
  • Potential for conflicting interests: Balancing the diverse interests and needs of various stakeholders in society can be complex, leading to potential conflicts and trade-offs when pursuing public value.

See Also