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Will Privatization Reduce Costs?

Author

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  • Lindqvist, Erik

    () (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

Abstract

I develop a model of public sector contracting based on the multitask framework by Holmström and Milgrom (1991). In this model, an agent can put effort into increasing the quality of a service or reducing costs. Being residual claimants, private owners have stronger incentives to cut costs than public employees. However, if quality cannot be perfectly measured, providing a private firm with incentives to improve quality forces the owner of the firm to bear risk. As a result, private firms will always be cheaper for low levels of quality but might be more expensive for high levels of quality. Extending the model to allow for differences in task attractiveness, I find that public firms shun unattractive tasks, whereas private firms undertake them if incentives are strong enough.

Suggested Citation

  • Lindqvist, Erik, 2008. "Will Privatization Reduce Costs?," Working Paper Series 736, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0736
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Andersson, Fredrik, 2010. "On the Cost-vs-Quality Tradeoff in Make-or-Buy Decisions," Working Papers 2010:2, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    2. Bergman, Mats A. & Johansson, Per & Lundberg, Sofia & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2016. "Privatization and quality: Evidence from elderly care in Sweden," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 109-119.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Privatization; Public Sector Contracting; Incomplete Contracts; Contracting Out;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • L32 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Public Enterprises; Public-Private Enterprises
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out

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