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From Public Monopsony to Competitive Market: More Efficiency but Higher Prices

Author

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  • Josse Delfgaauw
  • Robert Dur

Abstract

This paper examines the consequences of creating a fully competitive market in a sector previously dominated by a cost-minimising public firm. Workers in the economy are heterogeneous in their motivation to work in the sector. In line with empirical findings, our model implies that firms in the competitive market provide stronger monetary incentives to workers, 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 liberalisation may therefore be limited.

Suggested Citation

  • Josse Delfgaauw & Robert Dur, 2003. "From Public Monopsony to Competitive Market: More Efficiency but Higher Prices," CESifo Working Paper Series 1095, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1095
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Boycko, Maxim & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1996. "A Theory of Privatisation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(435), pages 309-319, March.
    2. Francois, Patrick, 2000. "'Public service motivation' as an argument for government provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 275-299, November.
    3. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
    4. 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.
    5. Delfgaauw, Josse & Dur, Robert, 2007. "Signaling and screening of workers' motivation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 605-624, April.
    6. Kikeri, Sunita & Nellis, John, 2002. "Privatization in competitive sectors : the record to date," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2860, The World Bank.
    7. 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 403-452, June.
    8. 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.
    9. Rafael La Porta & Florencio López-de-Silanes, 1999. "The Benefits of Privatization: Evidence from Mexico," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1193-1242.
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    11. Haskel, Jonathan & Szymanski, Stefan, 1993. "Privatization, Liberalization, Wages and Employment: Theory and Evidence for the UK," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 60(238), pages 161-181, May.
    12. repec:hrv:faseco:30727607 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert Dur & Amihai Glazer, 2004. "Optimal Incentive Contracts For a Worker Who Envies His Boss," CESifo Working Paper Series 1282, CESifo.
    2. Margaretha Buurman & Robert Dur, 2012. "Incentives and the Sorting of Altruistic Agents into Street-Level Bureaucracies," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(4), pages 1318-1345, December.
    3. Delfgaauw, Josse & Dur, Robert, 2007. "Signaling and screening of workers' motivation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 605-624, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    liberalisation; monopsony power; incentive wages; intrinsic motivation;

    JEL classification:

    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J40 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - General
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General
    • L30 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - General
    • L50 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - General

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