The Proper Scope of Government: Theory and an Application to Prisons
AbstractWhen should a government provide a service in-house and when should it contract out provision? The authors develop a model in which the provider can invest in improving the quality of service or reducing cost. If contracts are incomplete, the private provider has a stronger incentive to engage in both quality improvement and cost reduction than a government employee has. However, the private contractor's incentive to engage in cost reduction is typically too strong because he ignores the adverse effect on noncontractible quality. The model is applied to understanding the costs and benefits of prison privatization. Copyright 1997, the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 1778.
Date of creation: 1996
Date of revision:
Other versions of this item:
- 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.
- 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.
- D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
- H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
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