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Working in public and private firms

  • Corneo, Giacomo
  • Rob, Rafael

We develop a theoretical framework for comparing the style of work in public and private enterprises. We incorporate ‘socializing’, as an activity that yields utility for workers and affects a firm’s output, into a simple multitask model of work organization. In contrast with previous models, we establish the two following results. First, the optimal workers’ compensation policy displays a larger incentive intensity in the private firm than in the public firm. Second, labour productivity in the private firm may be higher or lower than in the public firm. Both results fit well with the findings of empirical work.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 87 (2003)
Issue (Month): 7-8 (August)
Pages: 1335-1352

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:87:y:2003:i:7-8:p:1335-1352
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. repec:sae:niesru:v:107:y::i:1:p:63-73 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Corneo, Giacomo & Rob, Rafael, 2003. "Working in public and private firms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1335-1352, August.
  3. Chamley, C. & Marchand, M. & Pestieau, P., 1986. "Linear incentive schemes to control public firms," CORE Discussion Papers 1986041, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  4. Armen A. Alchian & Harold Demsetz, 1971. "Production, Information Costs and Economic Organizations," UCLA Economics Working Papers 10A, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Atkinson, Scott E. & Halvorsen, Robert, 1986. "The relative efficiency of public and private firms in a regulated environment: The case of U.S. electric utilities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 281-294, April.
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  7. Andrei Shleifer, 1998. "State versus Private Ownership," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 133-150, Fall.
  8. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1987. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 303-28, March.
  9. 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.
  10. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
  11. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Privatization and Incentives," Working papers 572, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  12. Francois, Patrick, 2000. "'Public service motivation' as an argument for government provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 275-299, November.
  13. Drago, Robert & Garvey, Gerald T, 1998. "Incentives for Helping on the Job: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 1-25, January.
  14. Itoh, Hideshi, 1991. "Incentives to Help in Multi-agent Situations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 611-36, May.
  15. Boardman, Anthony E & Vining, Aidan R, 1989. "Ownership and Performance in Competitive Environments: A Comparison of the Performance of Private, Mixed, and State-Owned Enterprises," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 1-33, April.
  16. Weiss, Andrew W, 1980. "Job Queues and Layoffs in Labor Markets with Flexible Wages," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(3), pages 526-38, June.
  17. De Fraja, Giovanni, 1993. "Productive efficiency in public and private firms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 15-30, January.
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