Privatizing Public Registries: A Comparative Analysis of Organizational Options


With a focus on public registries, this article analyzes the organization of public registries comparing five organizational forms: (1) the bureaucratic expense centers used to provide privately valuable services in the welfare state; (2) the internal markets introduced to reform them and the hybrid solutions that have been used by the liberal state since the 19th century to provide such privately valuable services, including (3) revenue centers based on user fees, (4) franchised systems in which professional civil servants are in addition paid with the profit of an office, and (5) the contemporary variant in which the Government contracts out the provision of the whole service to a private firm. This comparison suggests that market forces may play a better role in organizing public registries when they are limited to a few variables, which makes stronger incentives possible and, at the same time, reduces the need for extensive planning and supervisory staff.