IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Public versus private ownership: Quantity contracts and the allocation of investment tasks

  • Hoppe, Eva I.
  • Schmitz, Patrick W.

The government wants a certain good or service to be provided. Should the required assets be publicly or privately owned or should a partnership be formed? Building on the incomplete contracting approach, we argue that the initially specified quantity of an ex ante describable basic good can have important effects on investment incentives, which has been neglected in the literature so far. We also study how the tasks of investing in quality improvements and cost reductions should be assigned. We show how the optimal contracts and governance structures depend on the exogenous parameters of the model such as the nature of the investments and the parties' bargaining powers.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

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

Volume (Year): 94 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3-4 (April)
Pages: 258-268

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:94:y:2010:i:3-4:p:258-268
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 2002. "On partial contracting," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 745-753, May.
  2. Martimort, David & Pouyet, Jerome, 2008. "To build or not to build: Normative and positive theories of public-private partnerships," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 393-411, March.
  3. Oliver Hart & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. "The Proper Scope of Government: Theory and an Application to Prisons," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1127-1161.
  4. Schmitz, Patrick W, 2005. "Information Gathering, Transaction Costs and the Property Rights Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 5417, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Andreas Roider, 2002. "Asset Ownership and Contractability of Interaction," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse12_2002, University of Bonn, Germany, revised May 2003.
  6. Aghion, P. & Tirole, J., 1993. "On the Management of Innovation," Working papers 93-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2001. "Government Versus Private Ownership of Public Goods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1343-1372.
  8. JOhn Bennett & Elisabetta Iossa, 2005. "Building and Managing Facilities for Public Services," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 05/137, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  9. Jean Tirole, 1999. "Incomplete Contracts: Where Do We Stand?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 741-782, July.
  10. Schmidt, Klaus M., 1996. "Incomplete contracts and privatization," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 569-579, April.
  11. Mathias Dewatripont & Philippe Aghion & Patrick Rey, 2004. "Transferable control," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9647, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  12. Hart, Oliver D. & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Scholarly Articles 3448675, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "The Management of Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1185-1209.
  14. Grossman, Sanford J. & Hart, Oliver D., 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Scholarly Articles 3450060, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Eric Maskin & John Moore, 1998. "Implementation and renegotiation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19350, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  16. 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.
  17. Francesconi, Marco & Muthoo, Abhinay, 2006. "Control Rights in Public-Private Partnerships," CEPR Discussion Papers 5733, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Privatization and Incentives," Working papers 572, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  19. Schmidt,Klaus M., 1991. "The costs and benefits of privatization," Discussion Paper Serie A 330, University of Bonn, Germany.
  20. repec:esx:essedp:612 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Shapiro, C. & Willing, D.R., 1990. "Economic Rationales For The Scope Of Privatization," Papers 41, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
  22. Andrei Shleifer, 1998. "State versus Private Ownership," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 133-150, Fall.
  23. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2000. "Partial Privatization and Incomplete Contracts: The Proper Scope of Government Reconsidered," MPRA Paper 13447, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  24. Schmidt, Klaus M., 1996. "The costs and benefits of privatization: An incomplete contracts approach," Munich Reprints in Economics 19773, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  25. Elisabetta Iossa, 2005. "Delegation of Contracting in the Private Provision of Public Services," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 05/125, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  26. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1999. "Foundations of Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 115-138.
  27. Huberman, Gur & Kahn, Charles M, 1988. "Limited Contract Enforcement and Strategic Renegotiation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 471-84, June.
  28. Nöldeke, Georg & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1995. "Option contracts and renegotiation: A solution to the Hold-Up Problem," Munich Reprints in Economics 19329, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  29. Che, Y.K. & Hausch, D.B., 1997. "Cooperative Investments and the Value of Contracting," Working papers 9714, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  30. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288817, December.
  31. David Martimort, 2006. "An Agency Perspective on the Costs and Benefits of Privatization," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 5-44, 07.
  32. John Vickers & George Yarrow, 1988. "Privatization: An Economic Analysis," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262720116, December.
  33. Bos, Dieter & De Fraja, Gianni, 2002. "Quality and outside capacity in the provision of health services," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 199-218, May.
  34. Joaquin Sevilla, 2005. "Accountability and Control of Public Spending in a Decentralised and Delegated Environment," OECD Journal on Budgeting, OECD Publishing, vol. 5(2), pages 7-21.
  35. J. Schuster, 1998. "Neither Public Nor Private: The Hybridization of Museums," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 127-150, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:94:y:2010:i:3-4:p:258-268. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.