Résumé : The paper surveys the evidence for developing countries of the relevance for the poor of the ownership choice (i.e. public vs. private vs. mixed) in electricity and water & sanitation utilities. It shows that most of the still widely quoted evidence is outdated (based on pre-2010 data) and fails to reflect the longer term evolution of the ownership choices of the 1990s. The most recent data suggests that it matters less to social outcomes than regulatory governance and market structure. It makes the case for an ownership choice more coherent with the context and capacity constraints of countries and sectors. It also identifies significant knowledge gaps on the ways in which social considerations can be addressed under any ownership type and this defines a new research agenda.