Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Private provision of traditional public sector services

TPS friend Jeremy Segall sends along this story and the ensuing debate. Long story short: Local town charges for fire protection, local man that didn't pay didn't have the fire department show up when his house was on fire, local man thought "they'd come out and put it out, even if you hadn't paid your $75, but I was wrong." How's that for a credible signal to pay your bill?

Naturally, the improved matching of user cost to user benefit makes me happy. As it's set up now, this scenario would work best in a rural setting, where spillovers are minimized (as highlighted in the article). In a more urban setting with houses closer together, I'd imagine groups buying fire protection as a unit, not unlike a condo association.

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