NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Principle and Market Failure in Systems Competition

Hans-Werner Sinn

NBER Working Paper No. 5411 (Also Reprint No. r2199)
Issued in January 1996
NBER Program(s):   PE

Contrary to a frequent contention, systems competition cannot work when governments respect the Subsidiarity Principle. The principle implies that governments step in where markets fail. Reintroducing markets through the back door of systems competition will again result in market failure. Three models are presented which illustrate this wisdom. The first is concerned with congestion-prone public goods and shows that fiscal competition may be ruinous for the governments. The second considers the insurance function of redistributive taxation and shows that systems competition may suffer from adverse selection. The third studies the role of quality regulation and shows that systems competition may be a competition of laxity resulting in inefficiently low quality standards.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w5411

Published: C and S Working Paper, November 1995 Journal of Public Economics 66 (1997) 247-274 H Selection

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