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From public monopsony to competitive market: more efficiency but higher prices

  • Josse Delfgaauw
  • Robert Dur

This paper examines the consequences of creating a fully competitive market in a sector previously dominated by a cost-minimizing public firm. Workers in the economy are heterogeneous in their intrinsic motivation to work in the sector. In line with empirical findings, our model implies that firms in the competitive market reach higher productivity and employ less workers than the public firm. Allocative efficiency therefore increases. Nevertheless, prices of the sector's output rise as competition between private firms for the best motivated workers leads to higher wage cost than under the public monopsony. Political support for liberalization may therefore be limited. Copyright 2009 , Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Economic Papers.

Volume (Year): 61 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 586-602

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Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:61:y:2009:i:3:p:586-602
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  1. Delfgaauw, Josse & Dur, Robert, 2007. "Signaling and screening of workers' motivation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 605-624, April.
  2. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Privatization and Incentives," Working papers 572, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. 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.
  4. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
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  6. Boycko, Maxim & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1996. "A Theory of Privatisation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(435), pages 309-19, March.
  7. Kikeri, Sunita & Nellis, John, 2002. "Privatization in competitive sectors : the record to date," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2860, The World Bank.
  8. Rafael La Porta & Florencio López-de-Silanes, 1997. "The Benefits of Privatization : Evidence from Mexico," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11583, The World Bank.
  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. Booth, Alison L & Zoega, Gylfi, 2002. "If You're so Smart, Why Aren't You Rich? Wage Inequality with Heterogenous Workers?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3190, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Alan Manning & Ted To, 2002. "Oligopsony and Monopsonistic Competition in Labor Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 155-174, Spring.
  12. 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.
  13. Jeffry M. Netter & William L. Megginson, 2001. "From State to Market: A Survey of Empirical Studies on Privatization," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 321-389, June.
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