Public and Private Production in a Mixed Delivery System: Regulation, Competition and Costs

Source: Germà Bel and Jordi Rosell, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Volume 35, Issue 3, Summer 2016
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From the abstract:
Academics and policymakers are increasingly shifting the debate concerning the best form of public service provision beyond the traditional dilemma between pure public and pure private delivery modes, because, among other reasons, there is a growing body of evidence that casts doubt on the existence of systematic cost savings from privatization, while any competition seems to be eroded over time. In this paper, we compare the relative merits of public and private delivery within a mixed delivery system. We study the role played by ownership, transaction costs, and competition on local public service delivery within the same jurisdiction. Using a stochastic cost frontier, we analyze the public-private urban bus system in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area. We find that private firms have higher delivery costs than those incurred by the public firm, especially when transaction costs are taken into account. Furthermore, tenders tend to decrease delivery costs.