Competition in Public Service Provision: The Role of Not-for-Profit Providers
42 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2018
Date Written: December 05, 2017
With public services such as health and education, it is not straightforward for consumers to assess the quality of provision. Many such services are provided by monopoly not-for-profit providers and there is concern that for-profit providers may increase profit at the expense of quality. This paper explores whether entry by for-profit providers is good for consumers despite the problem of unobserved quality. The model generates three key policy-relevant insights. First, by developing a novel approach to competition between different organizational forms, it frames the relevant trade-offs precisely. Second, it shows the value of keeping an incumbent not-for-profit as an active provider. Third, it characterizes the optimal payment (or voucher value) to an entrant for each consumer who switches in a way that can be applied empirically.
Keywords: public services, competition, not-for-profit providers
JEL Classification: H110, H440, L210, L310
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation