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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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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Hart, Oliver & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1997. "The Proper Scope of Government: Theory and an Application to Prisons," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1127-61, November.
  3. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1998. "Power In A Theory Of The Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 387-432, May.
  4. Pitchford, Rohan & King, Stephen, 2000. "Private or Public? A Taxonomy of Optimal Ownership and Management Regimes," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 401, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  5. 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.
  6. Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1995. "Privatization in the United States," NBER Working Papers 5113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Hart, Oliver D. & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Scholarly Articles 3448675, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1997. "Default and Renegotiation: A Dynamic Model of Debt," NBER Working Papers 5907, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  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. 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.
  15. Stephen King & Rohan Pitchford, 2008. "Private or Public? Towards a Taxonomy of Optimal Ownership and Management Regimes," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 84(266), pages 366-377, 09.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Pitchford, Rohan & King, Stephen, 2000. "Private or Public? A Taxonomy of Optimal Ownership and Management Regimes," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 401, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  3. 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.
  4. John Bennett & Elisabetta Iossa, 2004. "Building and Managing Facilities for Public Services," Public Policy Discussion Papers 02-08, Economics and Finance Section, School of Social Sciences, Brunel University.
  5. Cook, David C. & Lonsdale, Mark, 2005. "A strategic protection approach to biosecurity: Policy implications of an ‘immune system’ model for addressing the risks and consequences of invasive species," 2005 Conference (49th), February 9-11, 2005, Coff's Harbour, Australia 139327, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  6. Elisabetta Iossa & David Martimort, 2012. "Risk allocation and the costs and benefits of public--private partnerships," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 43(3), pages 442-474, 09.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Grant, S. & Quiggin, J., 2001. "Noise Trader Risk and the Political Economy of Privatization," Discussion Paper 2001-104, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  12. 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.

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