Introduction to the Study

Part of the GeoJournal Library book series (GEJL, volume 51)


The reconsideration of tasks and responsibilities by central governments is an international phenomenon. A trend towards increased market mechanism (privatisation and deregulation) and decentralisation (territorial and functional) has become widely accepted since the early eighties under the leadership of the former political leaders of the United States (Reagan) and Great Britain (Thatcher). Although the political doctrines were harmonised, the methods of implementation were highly diverse. In the United States initially the decentralisation opportunities presented by ‘New Federalism’ were emphasised where local government had to rely once more on its own vitality (Agranoff, 1982). At the same time the opportunities offered by privatisation were primarily geared to contracting out (Kettl, 1993). In Great Britain from the outset government discontinued its interest in many sectors which were then left to the mercy of market forces (Swann, 1981). In the Netherlands where there were fewer state-owned industries to sell, options for reducing the scope of the public sector were sought through deregulation and privatisation.


Public Authority Private Actor Administrative Structure Port Authority Port Activity 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

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