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


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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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. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-58, December.
  2. Pitchford, R. & King, S., 1998. "Private or Public? A Taxonomy of Optimal Ownership and Management Regimes," Papers 343, Australian National University - Department of Economics.
  3. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:113:y:1998:i:1:p:1-41 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. 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.
  5. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1997. "Default and Renegotiation: A Dynamic Model of Debt," NBER Working Papers 5907, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1991. "Privatization and Incentives," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 84-105, Special I.
  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. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:113:y:1998:i:2:p:387-432 is not listed on IDEAS
  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. 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.
  12. 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, June.
  13. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, . "Power in a Theory of the Firm," CRSP working papers 335, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  14. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:113:y:1998:i:2:p:361-386 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
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