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Public versus Private Initiative in Arctic Exploration: The Effects of Incentives and Organizational Structure

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  • Jonathan M. Karpoff

Abstract

From 1818 to 1909, 35 government and 57 privately funded expeditions sought to locate and navigate a Northwest Passage, discover the North Pole, and make other significant discoveries in Arctic regions. Most major Arctic discoveries were made by private expeditions. Most tragedies were publicly funded. Public expeditions were better funded than their private counterparts yet lost more ships, experienced poorer crew health, and had more men die. Public expeditions' poor performance is not attributable to differences in objectives, available technologies, or country of origin. Rather, it reflects a tendency toward poor leadership structures, slow adaptation to new information, and perverse incentives.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan M. Karpoff, 2001. "Public versus Private Initiative in Arctic Exploration: The Effects of Incentives and Organizational Structure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(1), pages 38-78, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:109:y:2001:i:1:p:38-78
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    Cited by:

    1. Bernd Frick & Anica Rose, 2017. "Over the top: Team composition and performance in Himalayan expeditions," Working Papers Dissertations 24, Paderborn University, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics.
    2. Christopher S Decker & William Corcoran & David T Flynn, 2011. "Shipwrecks on the Great Lakes and the Lake Carriers Association," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 450-469.
    3. Stan du Plessis, 2011. "Nationalising South African mines: Back to a prosperous future, or down a rabbit hole?," Working Papers 17/2011, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    4. Charalampos Karagiannakis & Elena Ketteni & Theofanis P. Mamuneas & Panos Pashardes, 2014. "Public vs Private: Electricity and Telecommunications in Europe," Cyprus Economic Policy Review, University of Cyprus, Economics Research Centre, vol. 8(1), pages 53-70, June.
    5. John A. List, 2011. "The Market for Charitable Giving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 157-180, Spring.
    6. Cashman, George D. & Deli, Daniel N., 2009. "Locating decision rights: Evidence from the mutual fund industry," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 645-671, November.
    7. Machiel Mulder & Victoria Shestalova & Mark Lijesen, 2005. "Vertical separation of the energy-distribution industry; an assessment of several options for unbundling," CPB Document 84, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    8. Machikita, Tomohiro & Ueki, Yasushi, 2009. "Linked versus Non-linked Firms in Innovation: The Effects of Economies of Network in Agglomeration in East Asia," IDE Discussion Papers 188, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
    9. Anne van Aaken & Janis Antonovics & Peter Kareiva & Emma Fuller, 2016. "Beyond Resilience: How to Better Prepare for the Profound Disruption of the Anthropocene," Global Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 7, pages 107-118, May.
    10. Skrastins, Janis & Vig, Vikrant, 2015. "How organizational hierarchy affects information production," IMFS Working Paper Series 92, Goethe University Frankfurt, Institute for Monetary and Financial Stability (IMFS).
    11. Clifford G. Holderness & Jeffrey Pontiff, 2012. "Hierarchies and the Survival of Prisoners of War During World War II," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(10), pages 1873-1886, October.
    12. repec:bla:apacel:v:31:y:2017:i:1:p:66-78 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Richard Chung & Scott Fung & James Shilling & Tammie Simmons-Mosley, 2011. "What Determines Stock Price Synchronicity in REITs?," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 73-98, July.
    14. Michael E. Bradbury & Jill Hooks, 2015. "Ownership and Performance in a Lightly Regulated Environment," Australian Accounting Review, CPA Australia, vol. 25(1), pages 100-112, March.

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