IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Signaling and the Design of Delegated Management for Public Utilities


  • Martimort, D.
  • Sand-Zantman, W.


We propose a theory explaining the shape of contracts between local governments and the contractors they hire to run public facilities on their behalf. Governments are privately informed over the quality of the facility and risk-averse while risk-neutral contractors are subject to a moral hazard problem. We show how the design of the contract signals the asymmetric information parameter. The higher the quality of the network, the higher the marginal return and the greater the share of operating risk kept by the government. This reduces the agent’s marginal incentives, creating a trade-off between signalling and moral hazard. This trade-off is analyzed in different contexts allowing for risk-aversion on the agent’s side, double moral hazard and political economy issues. Lastly, a model of delegated signalling is developed highlighting the difficulty of designing separating contracts when governments are under the countervailing influences of both the contractors and the voters.

Suggested Citation

  • Martimort, D. & Sand-Zantman, W., 2004. "Signaling and the Design of Delegated Management for Public Utilities," Cahiers du LASER (LASER Working Papers) 2004.11, LASER (Laboratoire de Science Economique de Richter), Faculty of Economics, University of Montpellier 1.
  • Handle: RePEc:mop:lasrwp:2004.11

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. David Martimort, 2006. "An Agency Perspective on the Costs and Benefits of Privatization," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 5-44, July.

    More about this item


    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mop:lasrwp:2004.11. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Jean-Christophe POUDOU (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.