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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. Bengt Holmstrom & Paul R. Milgrom, 1985. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 742, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. Armen A. Alchian & Harold Demsetz, 1971. "Production, Information Costs and Economic Organizations," UCLA Economics Working Papers 10A, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. De Fraja, Giovanni, 1993. "Productive efficiency in public and private firms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 15-30, January.
  4. 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.
  5. Roemer, John E. & Silvestre, Joaquim, 1992. "A welfare comparison of private and public monopoly," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 67-81, June.
  6. 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).
  7. Giacomo Corneo & Rafael Rob, . "Working in Public and Private Firms," Penn CARESS Working Papers 7942b6b570793de0891a05acb, Penn Economics Department.
  8. 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.
  9. Francois, Patrick, 2000. "'Public service motivation' as an argument for government provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 275-299, November.
  10. repec:sae:niesru:v:107:y::i:1:p:63-73 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. 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.
  12. Andrei Shleifer, 1998. "State Versus Private Ownership," NBER Working Papers 6665, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Itoh, Hideshi, 1991. "Incentives to Help in Multi-agent Situations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 611-36, May.
  17. 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.
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