NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

When Can Public Policy Makers Rely on Private Markets? The Effective Provision of Social Services

Rebecca M. Blank

NBER Working Paper No. 7099
Issued in April 1999
NBER Program(s):   PE   LS   CH

The privatization of social services is being increasingly discussed. The social services market is characterized by multiple market failures, including informational asymmetries, agency problems, externalities, and distributional concerns. Consumers may care as much or more about quality of services than about price. If quality is readily observable, the government can regulate private providers to assure standards are met. But when standards are difficult to observe or when the recipient is not the agent who makes the decisions, government ownership may be preferable. This paper categorizes the market situations in which the government provision of social services is likely to be most versus least attractive.

download in pdf format
   (105 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (105 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w7099

Published: Economic Journal, Vol. 110, no. 462 (March 2000): C34-C49. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Peltzman w0133 Toward a More General Theory of Regulation
Shleifer w6665 State Versus Private Ownership
Poterba w4916 Government Intervention in the Markets for Education and Health Care: How and Why?
Hansmann The Changing Roles of Public, Private, and Nonprofit Enterprise in Education, Health Care, and Other Human Services
Blank w8983 Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us