Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

From State to Market: A Survey of Empirical Studies on Privatization


Author Info

  • William L. Megginson

    (Michael F. Price College of Business, University of Oklahoma)

  • Jeffry M. Netter

    (Terry College of Business, University of Georgia)

Registered author(s):


    This study surveys the academic and professional literature examining the privatisation of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), with a focus on empirical studies. Privatisation has been instrumental in reducing state ownership in many countries and had a transforming effect on global stock markets, although the role of SOEs in many other countries is similar to what it was two decades ago. Countries have adopted large-scale privatisation programs primarily for two reasons: first, the conclusive evidence that privately-owned firms outperform SOEs and, second, the empirical evidence clearly shows that privatisation significantly (often dramatically) improves the operating and financial performance of divested firms. Governments can also raise significant revenues by selling SOEs. While the choice between privatisation via public share offering versus through asset sales is still imperfectly understood, factors such as firm size, government fiscal condition, and the state of national economic development are important influences. Further, those countries which have chosen the mass (voucher) privatisation route have done so largely out of necessity--and face ongoing efficiency problems as a result. Governments have great discretion in pricing the SOEs they sell, especially those being sold via public share offering, and they use this discretion to pursue political and economic ends. Finally, investors who purchase the shares of firms being privatised earn significantly positive excess returns both in the short-run (due to deliberate underpricing of share issues by the government) and over one, three, and five-year investment horizons.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 1999.1.

    as in new window
    Date of creation: Jan 1999
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:1999.1

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: Corso Magenta, 63 - 20123 Milan
    Phone: 0039-2-52036934
    Fax: 0039-2-52036946
    Web page:
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research

    Keywords: Capital; Investment; Employment; Financing policy; Ownership structure; Investment banking; Venture capital; Brokerage; Public economics; Sources of revenue; Public enterprises; Boundaries of public and private enterprise; Privatisation; Contracting out;

    Find related papers by JEL classification:

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. Luigi Benfratello, 1999. "Determinants And Effects Of Mergers And Acquisitions: An Analysis Based On The Notifications To Antitrust Authorities," CERIS Working Paper 199915, Institute for Economic Research on Firms and Growth - Moncalieri (TO).
    2. Gene Chang & Josef Brada, 2011. "A Model of the Macroeconomic Effects of Privatization on Employment in Transition and Developing Countries with an Application to China," Transition Studies Review, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 310-327, December.


    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


    Access and download statistics


    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:1999.1. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (barbara racah).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.