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Does a change in the ownership of firms, from public to private, make a difference?

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  • Elisabetta BERTERO

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    Abstract

    The economic impact of privatisation is hard to assess. This paper extends the analysis of Florio (2004) in four directions. It argues that a welfare assessment of privatisation must include an evaluation of the performance of public enterprises in light of their originally broad set of objectives including, for example, the promotion of employment. It highlights the importance of financial pressure, independently of privatisation, in improving the performance of public firms. It goes on to discuss the potential role of supranational institutions in bringing about this pressure, and identifies the relevance of the 1976 IMF intervention in the UK. International empirical evidence is then presented in support of Florio's argument that privatisation was not decisive in improving labour productivity. Finally, the paper argues that institutional differences across countries make cross-country analyses of privatisation problematic.

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    File URL: http://wp.demm.unimi.it/tl_files/wp/2006/DEMM-2006_003wp.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 2006-03.

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    Date of creation: 01 Feb 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:mil:wpdepa:2006-03

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    Keywords: Privatization; Great Britain; Public Ownership;

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    1. Jeffry M. Netter & William L. Megginson, 2001. "From State to Market: A Survey of Empirical Studies on Privatization," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 321-389, June.
    2. Oswald, Andrew J, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1815-31, November.
    3. 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.
    4. Bianchi Patrizio, 2001. "La chiusura dell'IRI. Considerazioni al margine di un evento storico," L'industria, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 2, pages 225-254.
    5. Padoa Schioppa, Fiorella Kostoris, 1998. "Economic Policy and Reforms in Contemporary Italy," CEPR Discussion Papers 1874, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Treisman, Daniel, 2000. "The causes of corruption: a cross-national study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 399-457, June.
    7. Roberto CAFFERATA, 1995. "Italian State-Owned Holdings, Privatization And The Single Market," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(4), pages 401-429, December.
    8. Nickell, Stephen & Nicolitsas, Daphne & Dryden, Neil, 1997. "What makes firms perform well?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 783-796, April.
    9. Barca, Fabrizio & Trento, Sandro, 1997. "State Ownership and the Evolution of Italian Corporate Governance," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(3), pages 533-59, September.
    10. Heald, David A, 1980. "The Economic and Financial Control of U.K. Nationalised Industries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 243-65, June.
    11. Boycko, Maxim & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1996. "A Theory of Privatisation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(435), pages 309-19, March.
    12. Lawson, Colin, 1994. " The Theory of State-Owned Enterprises in Market Economies," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(3), pages 283-309, September.
    13. Bertero, Elisabetta & Rondi, Laura, 2000. "Financial pressure and the behaviour of public enterprises under soft and hard budget constraints: evidence from Italian panel data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 73-98, January.
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