Owner or Holder? A Critical Study of Property Rights in Public Services

19 septembre 2009

Claudine Desrieux,  Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, 2009, 230-249, vol 20

Abstract: This paper deals with efficient organizational choices for the provision of public services. To better apprehend observed contracts of public-private partnerships, we depart from the property -rights literature to distinguish between ownership, rights to make residual decisions, and rights to receive residual benefits.

Indeed, such rights can be temporarily transferred to a private firm, even if ownership of the assets remains public. Hence, such a separation makes it possible to analyse the large continuum of contracts from full private to full public management. Our results show that there is always a degree of private involvement that is socially efficient.