The Pricing of Spinoffs from Space.

by Robert Klitgaard

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How should governmental goods and services be priced? Some analysts favor setting prices equal to marginal costs, for reasons of allocative efficiency. Others disagree. They cite unfulfilled assumptions in the marginalist argument, which make it inconclusive; and they cite distributional, dynamic, and administrative dimensions of pricing problems, which go beyond it. The result is an enormous literature that for decisionmaking purposes is inconclusive. In the context of two current pricing problems within the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, this paper develops a general "checklist for policymakers," which tries to recapitulate analytically the many dimensions of such issues. What is attempted is a step toward the policy analysis, rather than simply the economic analysis, of public pricing problems. 31 pp.

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