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Privatization And Poverty: The Distributional Impact of Utility Privatization

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  • K. Bayliss
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    Abstract

    This article examines the effects on poverty of privatization, an impact to which donors have given little attention in their concern with efficiency and markets. The analysis of the distributional impact of privatization activities draws on empirical cases in the utilities sector in a wide range of developing economies, principally in Africa and Latin America. After a critical consideration of the World Bank position on privatization strategies, and the arguments presented by donors on the pro-poor effects of these economic reforms, the article turns to the negative distributional effects. It is argued that privatization has demonstrably damaged the poor, whether through loss of employment and income, or through exclusion from, or reduced access to, basic services. This is mainly because private firms are principally concerned with profits, prices and costs, and are highly selective as to sectors and types of consumer. Meanwhile, the weakness of governance and regulatory capacity in many developing countries lead to poor control of market abuses. The article concludes by proposing that donors should take more account of local variations in state-market relations, and be prepared to give consideration to alternative economic strategies where privatization is not working as intended. Copyright 2002 CIRIEC.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Annals of Public & Cooperative Economics.

    Volume (Year): 73 (2002)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 603-625

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:annpce:v:73:y:2002:i:4:p:603-625

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    Cited by:
    1. David Parker & Colin Kirkpatrick, 2005. "Privatisation in Developing Countries: A Review of the Evidence and the Policy Lessons," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(4), pages 513-541.
    2. Antonio Rodriguez & Carlyn Ramlogan, 2007. "Corruption, privatisation and the distribution of income in Latin America," Development Research Working Paper Series 09/2007, Institute for Advanced Development Studies.
    3. Alberto Chong & Florencio de, 2003. "The Truth about Privatization in Latin America," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm436, Yale School of Management.
    4. Antonio Estache & L. Wren-Lewis, 2009. "Towards a Theory of Regulation for Developing Countries: Following Jean-Jacques Laffont's Lead," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/43903, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    5. Poggi, Ambra & Florio, Massimo, 2010. "Energy deprivation dynamics and regulatory reforms in Europe: Evidence from household panel data," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 253-264, January.
    6. Alberto E. Chong & Florencio López-de-Silanes, 2004. "Privatization in Mexico," IDB Publications 6682, Inter-American Development Bank.
    7. Antonio Estache & L. Wren-Lewis, 2008. "Towards a Theory of Regulation for Developing Countries: Following Laffont's Lead," Working Papers ECARES 2008_018, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    8. Ananya Reed & Darryl Reed, 2009. "Partnerships for Development: Four Models of Business Involvement," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 90(1), pages 3-37, May.

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