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Privatization in Latin America

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  • John Nellis

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    Abstract

    In Latin America, privatization started earlier and spread farther and more rapidly than in almost any other part of the world. More, and larger, firms were sold, and more proceeds were raised. Despite positive microeconomic results, privatization is highly and increasingly unpopular in the region. The core social criticism is that privatization contributes to growing poverty and inequality levels in Latin America—and circumstantial evidence supports the claim. But recent and rigorous studies dilute or counter the negative views, concluding that privatization has contributed only slightly to rising unemployment and in equality, and either reduces poverty or has no effect on it. Still, while privatization may be winning the economic battle it is losing the political war: The benefits are spread widely, small for each affected consumer or taxpayer, and occur (or accrue) in the medium-term. In contrast, the costs are large for those concerned, who tend to be visible, vocal, urban and organized, a potent political combination.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Center for Global Development in its series Working Papers with number 31.

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    Length: 32 pages
    Date of creation: Aug 2003
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:31

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    Related research

    Keywords: Latin America; privatization; poverty; inequality;

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    References

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    1. Barja, Gover & Urquiola, Miguel, 2001. "Capitalization, Regulation and the Poor: Access to Basic Services in Bolivia," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    2. Torero, Maximo & Pasco-Font, Alberto, 2001. "The Social Impact of Privatization and the Regulation of Utilities in Peru," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Sebastian Galiani & Paul Gertler & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2002. "Water for Life: The Impact of the Privatization of Water Services on Child Mortality," Working Papers 54, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Sep 2005.
    4. Alberto E. Chong & Florencio López-de-Silanes, 2003. "Privatization and Labor Force Restructuring around the World," IDB Publications 6507, Inter-American Development Bank.
    5. Eduardo Lora & Ugo Panizza, 2002. "Structural Reforms in Latin America under Scrutiny," Research Department Publications 4301, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    6. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane, 1997. "The Benefits of Privatization: Evidence from Mexico," NBER Working Papers 6215, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Antonio Estache & V. Foster & Q. Wodon, 2002. "Accounting for Poverty in Infrastructure Reform: Learning from Latin America's Experience," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/44108, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    8. Paredes M., Ricardo, 2001. "Redistributive Impact of Privatization and the Regulation of Utilities in Chile," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    9. Guasch, J. Luis & Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Straub, Stephane, 2003. "Renegotiation of concession contracts in Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3011, The World Bank.
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    As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
    1. > Political Economy > The Political Economy of Latin America
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    Cited by:
    1. Operations Evaluation Department, 2005. "2004 Annual Review of Development Effectiveness : The World Bank's Contributions to Poverty Reduction," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7433, July.
    2. John Nellis, 2006. "Privatization: A Summary Assessment," Working Papers 87, Center for Global Development.
    3. Daniele CHECCHI & Massimo FLORIO & Jorge CARRERA, 2004. "Privatization discontent and its determinants: evidence from Latin America," Departmental Working Papers 2004-23, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    4. Sirtaine, Sophie & Pinglo, Maria Elena & Guasch, J. Luis & Foster, Vivien, 2005. "How profitable are private infrastructure concessions in Latin America?: Empirical evidence and regulatory implications," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 45(2-3), pages 380-402, May.
    5. Kikeri, Sunita & Kolo, Aishetu, 2005. "Privatization : trends and recent developments," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3765, The World Bank.
    6. Luis A. Andrés & J. Luis Guasch & Thomas Haven & Vivien Foster, 2008. "The Impact of Private Sector Participation in Infrastructure : Lights, Shadows, and the Road Ahead," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6545, July.

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