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Decentralization, Externalities, and Efficiency

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  • Peter Klibanoff
  • Jonathan Morduch

Abstract

In the competitive model, externalities lead to inefficiencies, and inefficiencies increase with the size of externalities. However, as argued by Coase, these problems may be mitigated in a decentralized system through voluntary coordination. We show how coordination is limited by the combination of two factors: respect for individual autonomy and the existence of private information. Together they imply that efficient outcomes can only be achieved through coordination when external effects are relatively large. Moreover, there are instances in which coordination cannot yield any improvement at all, despite common knowledge that social gains from agreement exist. This occurs when external effects are relatively small, and this may help to explain why coordination is so seldom observed in practice. When improvements are possible, we describe how simple subsidies can be used to implement second-best solutions and explain why standard solutions, such as Pigovian taxes, cannot be used. Possible extensions to issues arising in the structure of research joint ventures, assumptions in the endogenous growth literature, and the location of environmental hazards are also described.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Klibanoff & Jonathan Morduch, 1995. "Decentralization, Externalities, and Efficiency," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(2), pages 223-247.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:62:y:1995:i:2:p:223-247.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.2307/2297803
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    Cited by:

    1. Péter Eso & Balázs Szentes, 2004. "The Price of Advice," Discussion Papers 1416, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    2. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2002. "On the Interplay of Hidden Action and Hidden Information in Simple Bilateral Trading Problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(2), pages 444-460, April.
    3. Frank Jensen & Niels Vestergaard, 1999. "Regulation of Renewable Resources in Federal Systems: The Case of Fishery in th EU," Working Papers 3/99, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Sociology, Environmental and Business Economics.
    4. Lulfesmann, Christoph, 2002. "Central governance or subsidiarity: A property-rights approach to federalism," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1379-1397, September.
    5. Martin Besfamille & Jean-Marie Lozachmeur, 2010. "NIMBY and mechanism design under different constitutional constraints," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 17(2), pages 114-132, April.
    6. Helmut Bester & Karl Wärneryd, 2006. "Conflict and the Social Contract," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(2), pages 231-249, July.
    7. Helmut Bester & Karl Warneryd, "undated". "Conflict Resolution under Asymmetric Information," Papers 006, Departmental Working Papers.
    8. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2010. "Contractual solutions to hold-up problems with quality uncertainty and unobservable investments," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(5), pages 807-816, September.
    9. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2006. "Book Review of “Contract Theory” (Bolton and Dewatripont, 2005)," MPRA Paper 6977, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Péter Eső & Balázs Szentes, 2007. "The price of advice," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(4), pages 863-880, December.
    11. Per Andersen & Frank Jensen, 2003. "Local Pollution in Federal Systems," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 26(3), pages 417-428, November.
    12. 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.
    13. Myeonghwan Cho, 2013. "Externality and information asymmetry in the production of local public goods," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 9(2), pages 177-201, June.
    14. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2002. "On simple contracts, renegotiation under asymmetric information, and the hold-up problem," MPRA Paper 12530, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Rosenkranz, Stephanie & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2002. "Book Review of “Bargaining Theory with Applications” (Muthoo, 1999)," MPRA Paper 6973, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Goldlücke, Susanne & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2016. "Pollution Claim Settlements Reconsidered: Hidden Information and Bounded Payments," CEPR Discussion Papers 11217, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    17. Albert Park & Minggao Shen, 2002. "A Refinancing Model of Decentralization with Empirical Evidence from China," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 461, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    18. Eahab Elsaid & Wallace Davidson & Xiaoxin Wang, 2011. "CEO successor compensation: outside versus inside successions," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 15(2), pages 187-205, May.
    19. Carrillo, Juan D., 1998. "Coordination and Externalities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 103-129, January.

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