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Private or Public? Towards a Taxonomy of Optimal Ownership and Management Regimes

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  • STEPHEN KING
  • ROHAN PITCHFORD

Abstract

We develop a model to assist policy-makers in their choice between private and public ownership for a broad range of activities, based on managers' ability to divert resources through perks or pet projects. Qualitative information is always required to demonstrate that public ownership is optimal. More 'public' firms are synonymous with greater control of such actions, but generate greater bureaucracy costs. The flat incentives faced by public managers can be socially desirable when commercially productive activities generate large social harms relative to profit, but are undesirable when these activities are either benign or create external social benefits. Applications are discussed. Copyright © 2008 The Economic Society of Australia.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by The Economic Society of Australia in its journal Economic Record.

Volume (Year): 84 (2008)
Issue (Month): 266 (09)
Pages: 366-377

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ecorec:v:84:y:2008:i:266:p:366-377

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  1. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1988. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Working papers 495, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Stephen King & Rohan Pitchford, 2001. "Private or Public? A taxonomy of optimal ownership and management regimes," International and Development Economics Working Papers idec01-5, International and Development Economics.
  3. Mark Armstrong & Simon Cowan & John Vickers, 1994. "Regulatory Reform: Economic Analysis and British Experience," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262510790, December.
  4. Pitchford, Rohan, 1995. "How Liable Should a Lender Be? The Case of Judgment-Proof Firms and Environmental Risk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1171-86, December.
  5. Jorde, Thomas M & Teece, David J, 1990. "Innovation and Cooperation: Implications for Competition and Antitrust," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 75-96, Summer.
  6. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1997. "Default and Renegotiation: A Dynamic Model of Debt," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series /1997/321, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  7. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1998. "Power in a Theory of the Firm," CEPR Discussion Papers 1777, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1997. "Privatization in the United States," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(3), pages 447-471, Autumn.
  9. David De Meza & Ben Lockwood, 1998. "Does Asset Ownership Always Motivate Managers? Outside Options And The Property Rights Theory Of The Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 361-386, May.
  10. Shapiro, Carl & Willig, Robert D, 1990. "On the Antitrust Treatment of Production Joint Ventures," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 113-30, Summer.
  11. Suzumura, Kotaro, 1992. "Cooperative and Noncooperative R&D in an Oligopoly with Spillovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1307-20, December.
  12. Schmidt, Klaus M., 1996. "The costs and benefits of privatization: An incomplete contracts approach," Munich Reprints in Economics 19773, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  13. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Privatization and Incentives," Working papers 572, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  14. Schmidt, Klaus M, 1996. "The Costs and Benefits of Privatization: An Incomplete Contracts Approach," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 1-24, April.
  15. Oliver Hart & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996. "The Proper Scope of Government: Theory and an Application to Prisons," NBER Working Papers 5744, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. King, Stephen & Pitchford, Rohan, 2002. "A Taxonomy of Optimal Ownership and Management Regimes," Discussion Papers 684, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Stephen King & Rohan Pitchford, 2001. "Private or Public? A taxonomy of optimal ownership and management regimes," International and Development Economics Working Papers idec01-5, International and Development Economics.
  2. Cook, David C. & Fraser, Rob W. & Weinert, Andrew S., 2013. "An Example of How Chemical Regulation is Affecting Biosecurity Policy-Making: Mediterranean Fruit Fly in Western Australia," 2013 Conference (57th), February 5-8, 2013, Sydney, Australia 152142, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  3. Bennett, John & Iossa, Elisabetta, 2006. "Building and managing facilities for public services," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 2143-2160, November.
  4. Richard J. Kish & Amy F. Lipton, 2013. "Do Private Prisons Really offer Savings Compared with their Public Counterparts?," Economic Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(1), pages 93-107, 02.
  5. Oliver Hart, 2002. "Incomplete Contracts and Public Ownership: Remarks, and an Application to Public-Private Partnerships," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 02/061, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  6. Lassila, Jukka & Lazutka, Romas & Morkuniene, Audrone & Jensen, Svend E. Hougaard, 2002. "Lithuanian Pension System: Alternatives and Proposals for the Future - A Summary Report by The Phare Study Group," Discussion Papers 713, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  7. Iossa, Elisabetta & Martimort, David, 2011. "Risk Allocation and the Costs and Benefits of Public-Private Partnerships," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1104, CEPREMAP.
  8. Elisabetta Iossa & David Martimort, 2008. "The Simple Micro-Economics of Public-Private Partnerships," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 08/199, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  9. Grant, S. & Quiggin, J., 2001. "Noise Trader Risk and the Political Economy of Privatization," Discussion Paper 2001-104, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  10. Jean-Etienne de Bettignies & Thomas W. Ross, 2004. "The Economics of Public-Private Partnerships," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 30(2), pages 135-154, June.
  11. repec:ags:aare05:139327 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. de Bettignies, Jean-Etienne & Ross, Thomas W., 2009. "Public-private partnerships and the privatization of financing: An incomplete contracts approach," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 358-368, May.

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