Friends, Enemies, or Strangers? On Relationships between Public and Private Sector Service Providers in Hybrid Forms of Governance


  • This article was partly written at the University of Oxford, Department of Politics and International Relations, where the author held a position as Visiting Research Fellow in 2010–2011. The author wishes to thank the department and especially Christopher Hood for all support. The author wishes to thank the three anonymous reviewers and editors of the journal for helpful comments. Special thanks to Peter May and Gwen for reading and reflecting on the many earlier drafts of this article.

Dr. Jeroen van der Heijden, Regulatory Institutions Network (RegNet), School of Regulation, Justice and Diplomacy (RJD), College of Asia and the Pacific (CAP), HC Coombs Extension #8, The Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200, Australia. Telephone: +61 2 612 51500; E-mail:


Hybrid forms of governance receive special attention in literature on regulatory reforms. It is often assumed that a combination of public and private sector involvement in a regulatory regime is superior to “pure public” or “pure private” regimes. By paying close attention to such hybrids, this article finds that hybrids have two key dimensions: first, the “amount” of public and private sector involvement in a hybrid, and second, the relationship between these sectors. Contrary to the former dimension, the latter hardly receives any attention in scholarship. This article addresses that knowledge gap. It introduces a typology of hybrids based on these two dimensions. A brief case study is introduced to discuss the value of the focus on relationships between public and private sector service providers.