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Priorities and Sequencing in Privatization: Theory and Evidence from the Czech Republic

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  • Nandini Gupta

    (University of Pittsburgh)

  • John Ham

    (University of Pennsylvania and Ohio State University)

  • Jan Svejnar

    (University of Michigan)

Abstract

While privatization of state-owned enterprises has been one of the most important aspects of economic transition from a centrally planned to a market system, no transition economy has privatized all its firms simultaneously. This raises the issue of whether governments strategically privatize firms. In this paper we examine theoretically and empirically determinants of the sequencing of privatization. First, we adapt and develop theoretical models in order to obtain testable predictions about factors that affect the sequencing of privatization. In doing so, we characterize government objectives as (i) increasing economic efficiency, (ii) maximizing sales revenue from privatization or public goodwill from transferring shares of firms to voters, and (iii) reducing political costs due to layoffs. Next, we use an enterprise-level data set from the Czech Republic to test the competing theoretical predictions about which firm characteristics affect the sequencing of privatization. We find strong evidence that more profitable firms were sold first. This outcome suggests that the government sequenced the sale of firms to maximize sale revenues and/or public goodwill from subsidized share transfers to citizens. In addition to enhancing the general understanding of privatization, our evidence suggests that many empirical studies of the effects of privatization on firm performance may suffer from selection bias since privatized firms are likely to have observable and unobservable characteristics that make them more profitable than the firms that are not privatized.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers with number 1580.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2000
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:wc2000:1580

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  1. Claessens, Stijn & Djankov, Simeon, 1999. "Ownership Concentration and Corporate Performance in the Czech Republic," CEPR Discussion Papers 2145, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Svejnar, Jan, 1982. "On the theory of a participatory firm," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 313-330, August.
  3. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1994. "Politicians and Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 995-1025, November.
  4. Vining, Aidan R & Boardman, Anthony E, 1992. " Ownership versus Competition: Efficiency in Public Enterprise," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 73(2), pages 205-39, March.
  5. Megginson, William L & Nash, Robert C & van Randenborgh, Matthias, 1994. " The Financial and Operating Performance of Newly Privatized Firms: An International Empirical Analysis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(2), pages 403-52, June.
  6. Rafael La Porta & Florencio López-De-Silanes, 1999. "The Benefits Of Privatization: Evidence From Mexico," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1193-1242, November.
  7. Barberis, Nicholas & Maxim Boycko & Andrei Shleifer & Natalia Tsukanova, 1996. "How Does Privatization Work? Evidence from the Russian Shops," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(4), pages 764-90, August.
  8. Heckman, James J. & Robb, Richard Jr., 1985. "Alternative methods for evaluating the impact of interventions : An overview," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 239-267.
  9. Lawrence J. Lau & Yingyi Qian & Gerald Roland, 1997. "Reform Without Losers: An Interpretation of China's Dual-Track Approach to Transition," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 137, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  10. Roman Frydman & Cheryl Gray & Marek Hessel & Andrzej Rapaczynski, 1999. "When Does Privatization Work? The Impact Of Private Ownership On Corporate Performance In The Transition Economies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1153-1191, November.
  11. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  12. Hingorani, Archana & Lehn, Kenneth & Makhija, Anil K., 1997. "Investor behavior in mass privatization: The case of the Czech voucher scheme," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 349-396, June.
  13. Demsetz, Harold & Lehn, Kenneth, 1985. "The Structure of Corporate Ownership: Causes and Consequences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1155-77, December.
  14. Aghion, Philippe & Blanchard, Olivier & Burgess, Robin, 1994. "The behaviour of state firms in eastern Europe, pre-privatisation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 1327-1349, June.
  15. Glaeser, Edward L. & Scheinkman, Jose A., 1996. "The Transition to Free Markets: Where to Begin Privatization," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 23-42, February.
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