What is the difference between public sector and private sector?

Definition of Public Sector

Public sector refers to:

  • government-owned organizations, and
  • government-provided services

(Note: public sector entity is different from a publicly-held entity.)

Definition of Private Sector

Private sector refers to:

  • organizations that are not government owned, and
  • the goods and services provided by organizations outside of the government

Example of Private Sector

Companies owned by individuals are part of the private sector. Even the largest corporation with its common stock publicly-traded on the New York Stock Exchange is part of the private sector.