Friday, November 18, 2011

Arm's Length Delegation of Public Services Journal of Public Economics 95, 7-8 (2011) 543-552

Delegation is a key feature of political decision making: Mayors or prime ministers delegate to subordinates, voters delegate to elected representatives. We analyze the effect of political delegation on public service provision and the choice between private or public providers when contracts are incomplete and incentives therefore distorted. We identify two important effects: The incentive effect increases the incentive part of service providers' remuneration and delegation may therefore be a substitute for an explicit complete incentive contract. The bargaining effect improves the bargaining position vis a vis a private firm with market power. In general, these effects imply that delegation improves public service provision.