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Contract Choice, Incentives, and Political Capture in the Public Sector


  • Gagnepain, Philippe
  • Ivaldi, Marc


We consider a framework of contractual interactions between public transport authorities and transport operators. We estimate simultaneously the contract choice by the authorities and the effect of regulation on the cost-reducing activity of the operators. We test whether the current regulatory schemes are the observable items of a complex menu of contracts, as proposed by Laffont and Tirole. We suggest that the generation process of the data we have in hand is better explained by a regulatory framework where an unsophisticated regulator is politically motivated. We show how these political preferences shape the contract choice and we shed light on how operating costs are affected. On average, operators’ costs are 12.1% lower under fixed-plus regimes, compared to the cost-plus cases.

Suggested Citation

  • Gagnepain, Philippe & Ivaldi, Marc, 2010. "Contract Choice, Incentives, and Political Capture in the Public Sector," CEPR Discussion Papers 8053, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8053

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cecile Aubert & Jean- Jacques Laffont, 2005. "Political renegotiation of regulatory contracts," Game Theory and Information 0506002, EconWPA.
    2. Bajari, Patrick & Tadelis, Steven, 2001. "Incentives versus Transaction Costs: A Theory of Procurement Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 387-407, Autumn.
    3. Harry F. Campbell, 1975. "Deadweight Loss and Commodity Taxation in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 8(3), pages 441-447, August.
    4. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1993. "A Theory of Incentives in Procurement and Regulation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121743, January.
    5. Philippe Gagnepain & Marc Ivaldi, 2002. "Incentive Regulatory Policies: The Case of Public Transit Systems in France," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(4), pages 605-629, Winter.
    6. Roemer, John E. & Silvestre, Joaquim, 1992. "A welfare comparison of private and public monopoly," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 67-81, June.
    7. Tomaso Duso & Lars-Hendrik Röller, 2001. "Towards a Political Economy of Industrial Organization: Empirical Regularities from Deregulation," CIG Working Papers FS IV 01-17, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
    8. Loeb, Martin & Magat, Wesley A, 1979. "A Decentralized Method for Utility Regulation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 399-404, October.
    9. Gasmi, F & Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Sharkey, W W, 1997. "Incentive Regulation and the Cost Structure of the Local Telephone Exchange Network," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 5-25, July.
    10. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2002. "Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661314, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lalive, Rafael & Schmutzler, Armin, 2011. "Auctions vs Negotiations in Public Procurement: Which Works Better?," CEPR Discussion Papers 8538, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item


    Contract choice; Cost reduction; Incentives; Public transit;

    JEL classification:

    • C51 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Construction and Estimation
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation


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