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The UK's Privatisation Experiment: The Passage of Time Permits a Sober Assessment

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  • David Parker

Abstract

This chapter looks at the UK’s privatisation experiment, which began from the late 1970s. It considers the background to the UK’s privatisations, which industries were privatised and how, and summarises the results of studies of performance changes in privatised companies in the UK. It looks at the relative roles of competition, regulation and ownership changes in determining performance improvement. It concludes by looking at the wider lessons that might be learned from the UK’s privatisation experiment, including the importance of developing competitive markets and, in their absence, effective regulatory regimes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1126.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1126

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Keywords: UK; privatisation; competition regulation; privatisation lessons;

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References

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  1. Catherine Waddams & Ruth Hancock, 1998. "Distributional effects of liberalising UK residential utility markets," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 19(3), pages 295-319, August.
  2. Saal, David S & Parker, David, 2001. "Productivity and Price Performance in the Privatized Water and Sewerage Companies of England and Wales," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 61-90, July.
  3. Domah, P. & Pollitt, M.G., 2000. "The Restructuring and Privatisation of Electricity Distribution and Supply Businesses in England and Wales: A Social Cost Benefit Analysis," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0007, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  4. Pollitt, M. & Smith, A.S.J., 2001. "The Restructuring and Privatisation of British Rail: Was it really that bad?," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0118, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  5. Dnes, Antony W, et al, 1998. "The Regulation of the United Kingdom Electricity Industry: An Event Study of Price-Capping Measures," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 207-25, May.
  6. Newbery, D.M. & Pollitt, M.G., 1996. "The Restructuring and Privatisation of the CEGB: Was It Worth It?," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9607, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  7. Boycko, Maxim & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1996. "A Theory of Privatisation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(435), pages 309-19, March.
  8. Kay, J A & Thompson, D J, 1986. "Privatisation: A Policy in Search of a Rationale," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(381), pages 18-32, March.
  9. E. Markou & C. Waddams Price, 1999. "UK utilities: Past reform and current proposals," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(3), pages 371-416, 09.
  10. David S Saal & David Parker, 2000. "The impact of privatization and regulation on the water and sewerage industry in England and Wales: a translog cost function model," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(6), pages 253-268.
  11. Parker, David, 1997. "Price cap regulation, profitability and returns to investors in the UK regulated industries," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 303-315, December.
  12. Jean Shaoul, 2003. "A Financial Analysis of the National Air Traffic Services PPP," Public Money & Management, Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, vol. 23(3), pages 185-194, 07.
  13. Da[ss]ler, Thoralf & Parker, David, 2004. "Harmony or disharmony in the regulation and the promotion of competition in EU telecommunications? A survey of the regulatory offices," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 9-28, March.
  14. David Tyrrall & David Parker, 2005. "The Fragmentation of a Railway: A Study of Organizational Change," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(3), pages 507-537, 05.
  15. Massimo Florio, 2001. "The welfare impact of a privatisation: the British Telecom case-history," Departmental Working Papers 2001-08, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
  16. D. Parker, 2002. "Economic Regulation: a review of issues," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 73(4), pages 493-519, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Abay Mulatu & Nicholas Crafts, 2005. "Efficiency among private railway companies in a weakly regulated system: the case of Britain's railways in 1893-1912," Economic History Working Papers, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History 22552, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  2. Richard, Blundell & Rachel, Griffith & Peter, Howitt & Susanne, Prantl & Aghion, Philippe, 2009. "The Effects of Entry on Incumbent Innovation and Productivity," Scholarly Articles 4554222, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Polterovich, V., 2013. "On Control of the Ownership Structure," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, New Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 177-182.
  4. Eoin Reeves, 2005. "Book Review - "Selling Out? – Privatisation in Ireland" by Paul Sweeney," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 36(1), pages 77–82.
  5. David Newbery, 2004. "Privatising Network Industries," CESifo Working Paper Series 1132, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Stephane Straub, 2008. "Infrastructure and Development: A Critical Appraisal of the Macro-level Literature," ESE Discussion Papers 178, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  7. Crafts, Nicholas & Mills, Terence C. & Mulatu, Abay, 2007. "Total factor productivity growth on Britain's railways, 1852-1912: A reappraisal of the evidence," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 608-634, October.
  8. Johan Willner, 2006. "A Mixed Oligopoly Where Private Firms Survive Welfare Maximisation," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 235-251, December.

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