School of Economics

Delivering Better for Less

Improving productivity in the Public Services


Public services are vital to ensuring citizens quality of life; and the social challenges they seek to address only ever increase in complexity. The period of austerity that followed the 2008 financial crisis seems likely to lengthen following the recent Brexit decision. It is therefore increasingly necessary for the public sector to deliver ‘better for less’.
This project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, brings together approaches from labour economics, behavioural economics, policy evaluation and industrial organisation to assess the potential of different approaches to improving public sector productivity.

Research themes

This Leverhulme Trust funded research programme will interrogate four key themes in relation to improving productivity in the public services.

  • The Efficiency-Effectiveness Trade-Off
  • Harnessing the Power of the Workforce
  • Competition, Choice and Innovation
  • Ownership, Accountability, Incentives and Motivation


Dr Jo Blanden leads an international team of Economists as they investigate the four research themes of the Better for Less project and interrogate their underlying assumptions.  The research will initially focus on Health, and then on Education.

Further information

Please visit the Delivering Better for Less website for further information, including the Better for Less Discussion Paper Series, and our blogs.