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Optimal Ownership of Public Goods in the Presence of Transaction Costs

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  • Müller, Daniel
  • Schmitz, Patrick W.

Abstract

A non-governmental organization (NGO) can make a non-contractible investment to provide a public good. Only ownership can be specified ex ante, so ex post efficiency requires reaching an agreement with the government. Besley and Ghatak (2001) argue that the party with the larger valuation should be the owner. We show that when transaction costs have to be incurred before the bargaining stage can be reached, ownership by the government can be optimal even when the NGO has a larger valuation. Our finding also contrasts with the standard private-good setup where the investing party (i.e., the NGO) should always be the owner.

Suggested Citation

  • Müller, Daniel & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2017. "Optimal Ownership of Public Goods in the Presence of Transaction Costs," MPRA Paper 90784, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:90784
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-1158, December.
    2. Muthoo,Abhinay, 1999. "Bargaining Theory with Applications," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521576475.
    3. Marco Francesconi & Abhinay Muthoo, 2011. "Control Rights In Complex Partnerships," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 551-589, June.
    4. Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli, 2006. "Transaction Costs and the Robustness of the Coase Theorem," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(508), pages 223-245, January.
    5. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
    6. Halonen-Akatwijuka, Maija, 2012. "Nature of human capital, technology and ownership of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(11), pages 939-945.
    7. Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2001. "Government Versus Private Ownership of Public Goods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1343-1372.
    8. Oliver E. Williamson, 2000. "The New Institutional Economics: Taking Stock, Looking Ahead," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 595-613, September.
    9. Müller, Daniel & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2016. "Transaction costs and the property rights approach to the theory of the firm," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 92-107.
    10. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2015. "Government versus private ownership of public goods: The role of bargaining frictions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 23-31.
    11. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288817.
    12. Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli & Giovanni Immordino, 2016. "Costly Pretrial Agreements," CSEF Working Papers 449, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    13. Bengt Holmstrom & John Roberts, 1998. "The Boundaries of the Firm Revisited," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 73-94, Fall.
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    Cited by:

    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

    Transaction costs Public goods Property rights Bargaining Incomplete contracts;

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • 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
    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship

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