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High-Powered and Low-Powered Incentives in the Public Sector

Howard Frant
Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory: J-PART
Vol. 6, No. 3 (Jul., 1996), pp. 365-381
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1181665
Page Count: 17
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High-Powered and Low-Powered Incentives in the Public Sector
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Abstract

Transaction-cost economics currently has a strong influence on the study of private-sector institutions, but attempts to apply it to the public sector have been less successful, particularly in the area of internal organization. I argue that the standard framework of transaction-cost economics must be adjusted to the distinctive characteristics of the public sector, and that the key is a rethinking of the idea of high-powered and low-powered incentives. I show that with this extension transaction-cost economics can provide insight into such important current issues as earmarking, public authorities, and civil service personnel systems.

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