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Machiavellian Privatization

Author

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  • Bruno Biais
  • Enrico Perotti

Abstract

We analyze politically motivated privatization in a bipartisan environment. When median-class voters a priori favor redistributive policies, a strategic privatization program allocating them enough shares can induce a voting shift away from left-wing parties whose policy would reduce the value of shareholdings. To induce median-class voters to buy enough shares to shift political preferences, strategic rationing and underpricing is often necessary. In the extreme, this may lead to free share distribution and voucher privatization. Shifting voting preferences becomes impossible when strong ex ante political constraints require large upfront transfers to insiders or when social inequality is extreme. (JEL D72, L33, P16, P35)

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno Biais & Enrico Perotti, 2002. "Machiavellian Privatization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 240-258, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:92:y:2002:i:1:p:240-258
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282802760015694
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • P35 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Public Finance

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