Private or public? a taxonomy of optimal ownership and management regimes
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We develop a theory of public versus private ownership based on value diversion by managers. Government is assumed to face stronger institutional constraints than has been assumed in previous literature. The model which emerges from these assumptions is fexible and has wide application. We provide amapping between the qualitative characteristics of an asset, its main use - including public goods characteristics, and spillovers toother assets values - and the optimal ownership and management regime. The model is applied to single and multiple related assets. We address questions such as; when is it optimal to have one of a pair ofr elated assets public and the other private; when is joint management desirable; and when should a public asset be managed by the owner of a related private asset? We show that while private ownership can be judged optimal in some cases solely on the basis of qualitative information, the optimality of any other ownership and management regimes relies on quantitative analysis. Our results reveal the situations in which policy makers will have difficulty in determining the opimal regime.