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Exits, Voices and Social Investment
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Book description

Over fifty years ago, Albert Hirschman argued that dissatisfied consumers could either voice complaint or exit when they were dissatisfied with goods or services. Loyal consumers would voice rather than exit. Hirschman argued that making exit easier from publicly provided services, such as health or education, would reduce voice, taking the richest and most articulate away and this would lead to the deterioration of public services. This book provides the first thorough empirical study of these ideas. Using a modified version of Hirschman's account, examining private and collective voice, and viewing loyalty as a form of social investment, it is grounded on a dedicated five-year panel study of British citizens. Given government policies over the past decade or more which make exit easier from public providers, this is a timely publication for all those who care about the quality of government services.


‘This restatement and intensive empirical exploration of Hirschman's classic ideas in the context of public services is not just very welcome as such, but is also an immensely good read.’

Stephen Harrison - Honorary Professor of Social Policy, University of Manchester

‘This book is the culmination of an outstanding record of research by the authors. It is a very important theoretical and empirical contribution to our understanding of how citizens make decisions about public services.’

Professor George Boyne - Cardiff University

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