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Government versus Private Ownership of Public Goods: Experimental Evidence

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  • Kusterer, David J.
  • Schmitz, Patrick W.

Abstract

Who should own public projects? We report data from a laboratory experiment with 480 participants that was designed to test Besley and Ghatak's (2001) public-good version of the Grossman-Hart-Moore property rights theory. Consider two parties, one of whom can invest in the provision of a public good. The parties value the public good differently. Besley and Ghatak (2001) argue that more investments will be made if the high-valuation party is the owner, regardless of whether or not this party is the investor. While our experimental results provide support for the Grossman-Hart-Moore theory, they cast some doubts on the robustness of Besley and Ghatak's (2001) conclusion.

Suggested Citation

  • Kusterer, David J. & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2018. "Government versus Private Ownership of Public Goods: Experimental Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 13204, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13204
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    1. Kusterer, David J. & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2018. "Government versus Private Ownership of Public Goods: Experimental Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 13204, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Incomplete Contracts; Investment incentives; Laboratory experiments; Property rights; Public Goods;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out

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