DP15030 The Dark Side of Transparency: Mission Variety and Industry Equilibrium in Decentralized Public Good Provision
We study the implications of transparency policies on the decentralized public good
provision, by focusing on how the moral hazard problem inside non-profits interacts
with the competitive structure of the sector under alternative informational regimes.
More transparency on the use of funds has an ambiguous effect on the total public
good provision and the welfare of donors. On the one hand, more transparency encourages non-profit managers to devote more resources to curbing rent-seeking inside
organizations. On the other hand, it tilts the playing field against non-profits managers
who face higher cost of monitoring, inducing them to abandon their missions. From
the donors' perspective, there are two corresponding opposing effects: transparency is
good because of the reduction in rent-seeking in the non-profits active in the market,
but it can backfire because of a lower diversity of non-profits. Donors' welfare is lower
under transparency (than under no information on the use of funds) for intermediate
levels of asymmetry in the cost of monitoring.