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Power of Incentives with Motivated Agents in Public Organizations


Public service motivation is often considered as an argument for low- powered incentive schemes in the public sector. In this paper, we characterize the optimal contract between a public regulator and an altruistic agent according to the degree of public service motivation, when the type of the public service consumer is privately observed. We show that the requested effort is non decreasing with and can be higher than the first best level. Moreover we show that the agent is put on a high powered contract when some customers are served but that this contract is associated with different types of consumers according to : In contrast, the agent is never put on a cost-plus contract. Finally, we show that the first best allocation can be achieved under budget balance for a degree of altruism higher than a threshold that we characterize.

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Article provided by Association for Public Economic Theory in its journal Journal of Public Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 13 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (06)
Pages: 391-416

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jpbect:v:13:y:2011:i:3:p:391-416
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  1. Le Grand, Julian, 2003. "Motivation, Agency, and Public Policy: Of Knights and Knaves, Pawns and Queens," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199266999.
  2. Ellis, Randall P. & McGuire, Thomas G., 1986. "Provider behavior under prospective reimbursement : Cost sharing and supply," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 129-151, June.
  3. Jullien, Bruno, 1997. "Participation Constraints in Adverse Selection Models," IDEI Working Papers 67, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  4. Chalkley, Martin & Malcomson, James M., 1998. "Contracting for health services when patient demand does not reflect quality," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 1-19, January.
  5. Jack, William, 2005. "Purchasing health care services from providers with unknown altruism," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 73-93, January.
  6. Francois, Patrick, 2000. "'Public service motivation' as an argument for government provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 275-299, November.
  7. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  8. Lewis, Tracy R. & Sappington, David E. M., 1989. "Countervailing incentives in agency problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 294-313, December.
  9. Edward P. Lazear, 2000. "The Power of Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 410-414, May.
  10. Paul A. Grout & Margaret Stevens, 2003. "The Assessment: Financing and Managing Public Services," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 215-234, Summer.
  11. Patrick Francois & Michael Vlassopoulos, 2008. "Pro-social Motivation and the Delivery of Social Services," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 54(1), pages 22-54, March.
  12. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Using Cost Observation to Regulate Firms," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 614-41, June.
  13. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
  14. Maggi G. & Rodriguez-Clare A., 1995. "On Countervailing Incentives," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 238-263, June.
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