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Public Provision of Private Goods and User Charges


  • Alessandro BALESTRINO

    (Università di Pisa)


This paper deals with the question whether uniform provision of a purely private good should be implemented at the social optimum, in a second best economy where personalised lump-sum transfers are not feasible, but no market failure exists. The answer is that it depends on the balance of private and social gains and losses from public provision: necessary conditions for the optimality of uniform provision are derived and discussed. The sensitivity of these conditions to changing rules for the choice of the user charge is also investigated, and it is suggested that public provision is most likely to be optimal when it is free of charge. Finally, it is emphasized that the assumption that a perfect substitute for the publicly provided good is not available plays a crucial role in obtaining the above results.

Suggested Citation

  • Alessandro BALESTRINO, 1995. "Public Provision of Private Goods and User Charges," Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) 1995043, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  • Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvre:1995043

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1985. "Small Menu Costs and Large Business Cycles: A Macroeconomic Model of Monopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(2), pages 529-538.
    2. George A. Akerlof & Janet L. Yellen, 1985. "A Near-Rational Model of the Business Cycle, with Wage and Price Inertia," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(Supplemen), pages 823-838.
    3. Dreze, Jacques & Bean, Charles R, 1990. " European Unemployment: Lessons from a Multicountry Econometric Study," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 92(2), pages 135-165.
    4. Sneessens, Henri R & Dreze, Jacques H, 1986. "A Discussion of Belgian Unemployment, Combining Traditional Concepts and Disequilibrium Econometrics," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 53(210(S)), pages 89-119, Supplemen.
    5. Abel, Andrew B & Blanchard, Olivier J, 1983. "An Intertemporal Model of Saving and Investment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(3), pages 675-692, May.
    6. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
    7. repec:adr:anecst:y:1987:i:5 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro, 1987. "Monopolistic Competition and the Effects of Aggregate Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 647-666, September.
    9. Hayashi, Fumio, 1982. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average q: A Neoclassical Interpretation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 213-224, January.
    10. Sneessens, Henri R., 1987. "Investment and the inflation-unemployment tradeoff in a macroeconomic rationing model with monopolistic competition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 781-808, April.
    11. Edmond Malinvaud, 1987. "Capital productif, incertitudes et profitabilité," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 5, pages 1-36.
    12. repec:adr:anecst:y:1987:i:5:p:01 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Henry Ohlsson & Michael Lundholm, 1998. "Wages, taxes and publicly provided day care," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 11(2), pages 185-204.
    2. Thum, Claudio & Thum, Marcel, 2001. " Repeated Interaction and the Public Provision of Private Goods," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(4), pages 625-643, December.
    3. Iregui, Ana Maria, 2005. "Decentralised provision of quasi-private goods: The case of Colombia," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 683-706, July.
    4. Balestrino, Alessandro, 1999. " User Charges as Redistributive Devices," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 1(4), pages 511-524.
    5. ., 2013. "Using market mechanisms (for example, contracting out) for the efficient public provision of commodities," Chapters,in: Competition, Diversity and Economic Performance, chapter 12, pages 233-252 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Thomas Bassetti & Luciano Greco, 2015. "Optimal Taxation and Productive Social Expenditure," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0196, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
    7. Balestrino, Alessandro, 1997. "Education policy in a non-altruistic model of intergenerational transfers with endogenous fertility," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 157-169, February.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H42 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Private Goods


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