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Public and Private Production in a Mixed Delivery System: Regulation, Competition and Costs

Germà Bel () and Jordi Rosell ()
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Jordi Rosell: Faculty of Economics, University of Barcelona

No 201418, IREA Working Papers from University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics

Abstract: Academics and policy makers are increasingly shifting the debate concerning the best form of public service provision beyond the traditional dilemma between pure public and pure private delivery modes, because, among other reasons, there is a growing body of evidence that casts doubt on the existence of systematic cost savings from privatization, while any competition seems to be eroded over time. In this paper we compare the relative merits of public and private delivery within a mixed delivery system. We study the role played by ownership, transaction costs, and competition on local public service delivery within the same jurisdiction. Using a stochastic cost frontier, we analyze the public-private urban bus system in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area. Our results suggest that private firms tendering the service have higher delivery costs than those incurred by the public firm, especially when transaction costs are taken into account. Tenders, therefore, do not help to reduce delivery costs. Our results suggest that under a mixed delivery scheme, which permits the co-existence of public and private production, the metropolitan government and the regulator can use private delivery to contain costs in the public firm and, at the same time, benefit from the greater flexibility of private firms for dealing with events not provided for under contract.

Keywords: costs; transaction costs; mixed delivery; local governments JEL classification: H0; H7; K00; L33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cse, nep-pbe and nep-reg
Date: 2014-05, Revised 2014-05
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Journal Article: Public and Private Production in a Mixed Delivery System: Regulation, Competition and Costs (2016) Downloads
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