The Provision of Public Services by Government Funded Decentralized Agencies
Public services are often provided by lower level agencies that are funded by higher level government. Since markets for such services do not exist, normal pressures to minimize costs do not operate; indeed, usually these costs are unobservable. We study a principal-agent model which emphasizes the distinction between the financing and provision of public services. Two broad situations are analyzed: (i) the agencies are induced to reveal true costs; and (ii) in addition, to minimize costs, agencies must be induced to exert effort. The characteristics of the optimal funding contract and the marginal cost of public funds are derived in each case. Copyright 1999 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
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