From state to market revisited: more empirical evidence on the efficiency of public (and privately-owned) enterprises
AbstractFor several decades public enterprises have been criticised for their poor economic performance. Many economists take it as “conventional wisdom” that publicly owned enterprises are inefficient by their very nature. This seemed to be proved by what is probably the most cited survey worldwide, that was written by Megginson and Netter (2001). They claim: “Research now supports the proposition that privately owned firms are more efficient and more profitable than otherwise-comparable state-owned firms” (p. 380). The objective of this paper is to question the proposition that public enterprises are necessarily less efficient as their private counterparts. In doing so, we argue that profits are not a reasonable performance measure for public enterprises. However, our main focus is to present a much more comprehensive review of the empirical evidence than was provided by Megginson and Netter. The evidence indicates that these authors’ conclusions were biased in favour of privatization despite the evidence indicating that the true picture is much more differentiated.
Download InfoIf 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.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 47570.
Date of creation: 07 Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Public enterprises; publicly provided goods; efficiency; privatization; firm performance;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
- H42 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Private Goods
- L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
- L32 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Public Enterprises; Public-Private Enterprises
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-06-16 (All new papers)
- NEP-EFF-2013-06-16 (Efficiency & Productivity)
- NEP-HME-2013-06-16 (Heterodox Microeconomics)
- NEP-TRA-2013-06-16 (Transition Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Klaus M. Schmidt, 1995.
"Incomplete Contracts and Privatization,"
Discussion Paper Serie A
480, University of Bonn, Germany.
- Germ� Bel & Xavier Fageda & Mildred E. Warner, 2010.
"Is private production of public services cheaper than public production? A meta-regression analysis of solid waste and water services,"
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management,
John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(3), pages 553-577.
- Germà Bel & Xavier Fageda & Mildred E. Warner, 2009. "Is Private Production of Public Services Cheaper than Public Production? A meta-regression analysis of solid waste and water services," IREA Working Papers 200923, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised Oct 2009.
- Germa Bel & Anton Costas, 2006. "Do Public Sector Reforms Get Rusty? Local Privatization in Spain," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(1), pages 1-24.
- Boardman, Anthony E & Vining, Aidan R, 1989. "Ownership and Performance in Competitive Environments: A Comparison of the Performance of Private, Mixed, and State-Owned Enterprises," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 1-33, April.
- Boubakri, Narjess & Cosset, Jean-Claude & Guedhami, Omrane, 2005. "Liberalization, corporate governance and the performance of privatized firms in developing countries," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 11(5), pages 767-790, October.
- William L. Megginson & Natalie L. Sutter, 2006. "Privatisation in Developing Countries," Corporate Governance: An International Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(4), pages 234-265, 07.
- Hart, Oliver & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1997.
"The Proper Scope of Government: Theory and an Application to Prisons,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1127-61, November.
- Oliver Hart & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1996. "The Proper Scope of Government: Theory and an Application to Prisons," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1778, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Oliver Hart & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996. "The Proper Scope of Government: Theory and an Application to Prisons," NBER Working Papers 5744, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Frey, Bruno S., 1997. "On the relationship between intrinsic and extrinsic work motivation1," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 427-439, July.
- Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1991.
"Privatization and Incentives,"
572, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- John Vickers & George Yarrow, 1988. "Privatization: An Economic Analysis," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262720116, December.
- Alberto Cavaliere, 2006.
"Privatization and Efficiency: from Principals and Agents to Political Economy,"
2006.99, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
- Alberto Cavaliere & Simona Scabrosetti, 2008. "Privatization And Efficiency: From Principals And Agents To Political Economy," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(4), pages 685-710, 09.
- Villalonga, Belen, 2000. "Privatization and efficiency: differentiating ownership effects from political, organizational, and dynamic effects," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 43-74, May.
- Massimo Florio, 2006. "The Great Divestiture: Evaluating the Welfare Impact of the British Privatizations, 1979-1997," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262562227, December.
- David Parker & Colin Kirkpatrick, 2005.
"Privatisation in Developing Countries: A Review of the Evidence and the Policy Lessons,"
Journal of Development Studies,
Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(4), pages 513-541.
- Parker, David & Kirkpatrick, Colin, 2003. "Privatisation in Developing Countries: A Review of the Evidence and the Policy Lessons," Centre on Regulation and Competition (CRC) Working papers 30623, University of Manchester, Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM).
- Djankov, Simeon & Murrell, Peter, 2002.
"Enterprise Restructuring in Transition: A Quantitative Survey,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
3319, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Simeon Djankov & Peter Murrell, 2002. "Enterprise Restructuring in Transition: A Quantitative Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(3), pages 739-792, September.
- Estrin, Saul & Hanousek, Jan & Svejnar, Jan, 2009. "Effects of Privatization and Ownership in Transition Economies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4811, The World Bank.
- Willner, Johan, 2001. "Ownership, efficiency, and political interference," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 723-748, November.
- Schmidt, Klaus M., 1996. "Incomplete contracts and privatization," Munich Reprints in Economics 19776, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- 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.
- Saul Estrin & Jan Hanousek & Evzen Kocenda & Jan Svejnar, 2009. "The Effects of Privatization and Ownership in Transition Economies," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(3), pages 699-728, September.
- De Fraja, Giovanni, 1993. "Productive efficiency in public and private firms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 15-30, January.
- Vining, Aidan R & Boardman, Anthony E, 1992. " Ownership versus Competition: Efficiency in Public Enterprise," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 73(2), pages 205-39, March.
- Foreman-Peck, James & Waterson, Michael, 1985. "The Comparative Efficiency of Public and Private Enterprise in Britain: Electricity Generation between the World Wars," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(380a), pages 83-95, Supplemen.
- Schmidt, Klaus M, 1996. "The Costs and Benefits of Privatization: An Incomplete Contracts Approach," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 1-24, April.
- Lidia Ceriani & Massimo Florio, 2011. "Consumer surplus and the reform of network industries: a primer," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 102(2), pages 111-122, March.
- Foreman-Peck, James & Millward, Robert, 1994. "Public and Private Ownership of British Industry 1820-1990," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198203599, September.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ekkehart Schlicht).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.