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Ownership and Production Costs: Choosing between Public Production and Contracting-Out in the Case of Swedish Refuse Collection

Henry Ohlsson ()

Fiscal Studies, 2003, vol. 24, issue 4, 451-476

Abstract: Many comparisons of public and private firms use a public/private ownership dummy variable to capture cost differences. If, however, public and private firms use different production technologies, the dummy-variable approach is misspecified. Data from public and private firms should not be pooled. Secondly, selectivity bias may arise, making it more difficult to identify cost differentials that actually exist. Thirdly, if data should be pooled, the resulting empirical model may be logically inconsistent. This paper compares public and private firms using the refuse collection costs of 170 firms in 115 Swedish municipalities. First, public production costs were 6 per cent lower than private production costs. Secondly, cost differences did not affect producer choice. It is crucial to adjust for selectivity. Data for private and public firms should not be pooled. The dummy-variable model is misspecified.

JEL-codes: D24 E22 L32 L33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2003
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Related works:
Working Paper: Ownership and Production Costs Choosing Between Public Production and Contracting Out (1998)
Working Paper: Ownership and Production Costs - Choosing Between Public Production and Contracting Out (1998) Downloads
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