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40 Examples of the Public Sector

 , May 12, 2020 updated on August 20, 2022
The public sector is the sector of an economy that is controlled by a government. This includes services directly provided by national, regional and city governments and any organizations controlled by a government. The following are common elements of the public sector.
Arts & Culture
Business Development
Civil Protection
Consumer Protection
Data Protection
Democratic Institutions
Emergency Services
Environmental Protection
Fair Competition
Food Safety
Global Affairs
Immigration & Customs
Information Services
Law Enforcement
National Parks
Natural Resources
Postal System
Public Broadcasting
Public Finance
Public Health
Public Safety
Public Space
Public Transportation
Public Utilities
Statistics & Data
Urban Development
Urban Planning
Waste Management

Public Sector vs Private Sector

The public sector relates to any department, organization, agency or authority that is controlled by government or derives its authority from government. The private sector includes all other organizations controlled by private citizens such as businesses and non-profits. There are grey areas between these two such as an organization partially funded by a government or governments.

Role of the Public Sector

The public sector produces value that a society deems above the profit motive. These are the things that a society wants to run according to a system of values because they touch on the human condition, morals or the human experience. For example, a society may deem health, education, justice, defense, public space, natural resources, public safety and environmental protection to be public services that are above the profit motive.
It is also common for the public sector to provide basic hard and soft infrastructure as the basis for the economic prosperity and quality of life of a nation.
The public sector also plays a critical role in providing a financial system and rules of competition to the private sector. Without the public sector, the private sector could not exist as a single firm would eventually dominate all things without regulation of monopolies. Such a firm would resemble a communist system as it would dominate every aspect of life.


In a communist system, everything is controlled by the government such that the private sector essentially doesn't exist. This creates a massive and all-powerful bureaucracy that centrally plans every aspect of life.
Overview: Public Sector
Definition (1)
Any department, organization or agency that is controlled by government or derives its authority from government.
Definition (2)
The economic value produced by governments and organizations they control.
Contrasted With
Private Sector
Profit Motive
Related Concepts

Public Sector

This is the complete list of articles we have written about public sector.
Consumer Protection
Fair Competition
Grey Areas
Hard Infrastructure
Natural Resources
Profit Motive
Public Safety
Public Services
Public Space
Quality Of Life
Role Of Government
Soft Infrastructure
Urban Planning
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