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3.2. Controlling Externalities: Litigation vs. Regulation

Course video 15 of 34

In this lecture we discuss how governments perform their key functions such as public regulation and public service delivery using three cases. In the first case, we discuss alternative means to control externalities by considering situations when private firms could cause harm to third parties (employees, customers, local communities etc.). These means include (a) imposing mandatory requirements upon firms to take precautionary measures, (b) allowing damaged parties to sue firms in the court of law, and (c) leaving such incidents to Coase-style private solutions. In the second case, we compare two modalities of public service delivery, namely in-house, by government agencies, or through outsourcing to private sector firms. Finally, we discuss the phenomenon of regulatory capture when wealthy elites unnecessarily complicate and obstruct the entry into the formal sector.

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