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Fiche de cours

Contract Economics and Organization of Public Services

Faculté de gestion: Institut de hautes études en administration publique

Responsable(s): Laure Athias, Simon Schnyder
Intervenant(s): -

Période de validité: 2011 -> 2013

Pas d'horaire défini.


Semestre d'automne
4 heures par semaine

Langue(s) d'enseignement: anglais
Public: Oui
Crédits: 0


The goal of this course is to understand how public services are organized/provided by applying recent developments of contract theories (incentives theory, transaction cost theory, incomplete contract theory). Examples of the type of questions we will try to answer: What organizational choices for public services? For what efficiency? Are there any organizational choices that outperform all other possible organizational choices? Are there any kinds of public services that should absolutely stay in the hands of the public sector/State? How can we address the problems of quality and performance of public services?


1. Introduction & background - The make-or-buy decision
2. Diversity of the organizational choices
3. The provision of public services: the make-or-buy tradeoff (I) - A Transaction Cost Economics' perspective
4. The provision of public services: the make-or-buy tradeoff (II) - An Incomplete Contract Theory's perspective
5. Regulation: Price-cap, cost-plus, yardstick competition - A Theory of incentives' perspective


Oral presentation (30%), homework problem set (30%), oral exam (40%).


- Coase R., 1937, "The nature of the firm", Economica, New Series 4, pp. 386-405.
- Williamson O.E., 1985, The Economic Institutions of Capitalism, The Free Press/Macmillan., New York.
- Williamson, O.E., 2000, "The new institutional economics: Taking stock, looking ahead", Journal of Economic Literature 38, pp. 565-613.
- Levin J. et S. Tadelis, 2010, "Contracting for Government Services: Theory and Evidence from U.S. Cities", Journal of Industrial Economics, 2010, 58(3):507-541
- Hart, O., A. Shleifer and R. Vishny, 1997, "The proper scope of government: Theory and application to prisons", Quarterly Journal of Economics CXII, pp. 1127-1162.
- Laffont J.J. and Tirole J., 1993, A Theory of Incentives in Procurement and Regulation, MIT Press.

Informations supplémentaires


Canton de Vaud
Swiss University
Unicentre  -  CH-1015 Lausanne  -  Suisse  -  Tél. +41 21 692 11 11  -  Fax  +41 21 692 26 15