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Article
Publication date: 3 June 2014

Tamara Peneva Todorova

The purpose of this paper is to weigh the benefits and costs of public property, as opposed to private, from the transaction cost perspective. In the absence of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to weigh the benefits and costs of public property, as opposed to private, from the transaction cost perspective. In the absence of transaction costs, private property has clear advantages over public. However, when the true costs of running an economic system are taken into account, the advantages of private property are not so evident and public property may turn out to be the preferred form of ownership. The paper shows that in high-transaction cost sectors and economies such as the newly emerging markets in Eastern Europe, public property is a cheaper way of organizing economic activities, as it can save on transaction costs. The paper demonstrates these virtues of public ownership in relation to market failure, the provision of public goods, natural monopolies and competitive industries with a high degree of market uncertainty, opportunism and asset specificity.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative paper discussing the advantages of public over private property in the presence of high-transaction costs.

Findings

Studying different types of market failure the paper finds that public property is advantageous to private in high-transaction cost systems.

Originality/value

Since most of the standard literature emphasizes the advantages of private property, the paper gives an economic explanation to those of public property taking on a new institutional approach and conducting a transaction cost analysis.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 41 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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