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Partial Privatization and Incomplete Contracts: The Proper Scope of Government Reconsidered

  • Patrick W. Schmitz

In this paper it is argued that privatization is not the only alternative to public ownership. Adopting the incomplete contract approach, it is shown that partial privatization may well be the optimal ownership structure. While in the standard incomplete contract model joint ownership is usually suboptimal, it is shown here that joint ownership in the form of partial privatization can be optimal since it mitigates the disadvantages of public ownership (no incentives to improve quality if the manager invests or too strong incentives if the government invests) and of rivatization (too strong incentives for the manager to reduce costs).

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Article provided by Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen in its journal FinanzArchiv.

Volume (Year): 57 (2000)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 394-411

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Handle: RePEc:mhr:finarc:urn:sici:0015-2218(200108)57:4_394:ppaict_2.0.tx_2-q
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  1. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1997. "Power in a Theory of the Firm," NBER Working Papers 6274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Narjess Boubakri & Jean-Claude Cosset, 1998. "The Financial and Operating Performance of Newly Privatized Firms: Evidence from Developing Countries," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(3), pages 1081-1110, 06.
  3. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "The Management of Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1185-1209, November.
  4. Andrei Shleifer, 1998. "State Versus Private Ownership," NBER Working Papers 6665, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Chiu, Y Stephen, 1998. "Noncooperative Bargaining, Hostages, and Optimal Asset Ownership," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 882-901, September.
  6. Schmitz, Patrick W, 2001. "The Hold-up Problem and Incomplete Contracts: A Survey of Recent Topics in Contract Theory," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 1-17, January.
  7. Schmitz, Patrick W. & Sliwka, Dirk, 2001. "On synergies and vertical integration," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(8), pages 1281-1295, September.
  8. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1988. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Working papers 495, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Shapiro, C. & Willing, D.R., 1990. "Economic Rationales For The Scope Of Privatization," Papers 41, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
  10. Schmidt, Klaus M, 1996. "The Costs and Benefits of Privatization: An Incomplete Contracts Approach," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 1-24, April.
  11. Edlin, Aaron S & Reichelstein, Stefan, 1996. "Holdups, Standard Breach Remedies, and Optimal Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 478-501, June.
  12. Schmidt, Klaus M. & Schnitzer, Monika, 1997. "Methods of Privatization: Auctions, Bargaining and Give-Aways," CEPR Discussion Papers 1541, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2002. "Simple contracts, renegotiation under asymmetric information, and the hold-up problem," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 169-188, January.
  14. Rosenkranz, Stephanie & Schmitz, Patrick W., 1999. "Know-how disclosure and incomplete contracts," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 181-185, May.
  15. Hardman Moore, John & Hart, Oliver, 1985. "Incomplete Contracts and Renegotiation," CEPR Discussion Papers 60, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Klaus M. Schmidt, 1995. "Incomplete Contracts and Privatization," Discussion Paper Serie A 480, University of Bonn, Germany.
  20. 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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  22. Aghion, P. & Tirole, J., 1993. "On the Management of Innovation," Working papers 93-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  23. repec:att:wimass:9714 is not listed on IDEAS
  24. Megginson, William L & Nash, Robert C & van Randenborgh, Matthias, 1994. " The Financial and Operating Performance of Newly Privatized Firms: An International Empirical Analysis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(2), pages 403-52, June.
  25. Georg Nöldeke & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1992. "Option Contracts and Renegotiation - A Solution to the Hold-Up Problem," Discussion Paper Serie A 417, University of Bonn, Germany, revised Aug 1993.
  26. De Fraja, Giovanni, 1993. "Productive efficiency in public and private firms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 15-30, January.
  27. Matsumura, Toshihiro, 1998. "Partial privatization in mixed duopoly," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 473-483, December.
  28. Donald B. Hausch & Yeon-Koo Che, 1999. "Cooperative Investments and the Value of Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 125-147, March.
  29. De Meza, D. & Lockwood, Ben, 1997. "Does Asset Ownership Always Motivate Managers? The Property Rights Theory of the Firm with Alternating - Offers Bargaining," Discussion Papers 9701, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
  30. Jean Tirole, 1999. "Incomplete Contracts: Where Do We Stand?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 741-782, July.
  31. Hermalin, Benjamin E & Katz, Michael L, 1993. "Judicial Modification of Contracts between Sophisticated Parties: A More Complete View of Incomplete Contracts and Their Breach," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 230-55, October.
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