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Privatization And Efficiency: From Principals And Agents To Political Economy

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  • Alberto Cavaliere
  • Simona Scabrosetti

Abstract

We survey the theoretical literature on privatization and efficiency by tracing its evolution from the applications of agency theory to recent contributions in the field of political economy. The former extend the theory of regulation with incomplete information to address privatization issues, comparing state-owned enterprises with private regulated firms. The benefits of privatization may derive either from the constraints it places on malevolent agents or from the impossibility of commitment by a benevolent government because of incomplete contracts. Contributions dealing with political economy issues separate privatization from restructuring decisions. They either explore bargaining between managers and politicians or analyse the impact of privatization shaped by political preferences on efficiency. The theoretical results regarding the relation between privatization and efficiency do not lead to any definitive conclusion. Privatization may increase productive efficiency when restructuring takes place whereas its effects on allocative efficiency still remain uncertain. Copyright © 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • 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, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jecsur:v:22:y:2008:i:4:p:685-710
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Böheim, 2011. "The Privatisation of Public Assets as an Economic Policy Instrument: Public Versus Private Ownership of Enterprises – The Practical Implementation of Privatisation Projects and Economic Policy Conclus," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 84(11), pages 727-741, November.
    2. Polterovich, V., 2013. "On Control of the Ownership Structure," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 177-182.
    3. repec:kap:jeczfn:v:120:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s00712-016-0502-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Natália Monteiro & Miguel Portela & Odd Straume, 2011. "Firm Ownership and Rent Sharing," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 210-236, September.
    5. Boardman, Anthony E. & Vining, Aidan R. & Weimer, David L., 2016. "The long-run effects of privatization on productivity: Evidence from Canada," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 1001-1017.
    6. Mühlenkamp, Holger, 2013. "From state to market revisited: more empirical evidence on the efficiency of public (and privately-owned) enterprises," MPRA Paper 47570, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Heshmati, Almas, 2012. "Survey of Models on Demand, Customer Base-Line and Demand Response and Their Relationships in the Power Market," IZA Discussion Papers 6637, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Polterovich, Victor, 2012. "Приватизация И Рациональная Структура Собственности. Часть 1. Приватизация: Проблема Эффективности
      [Privatization and the rational ownership structure. Part 1: privatization: the effeciency problem
      ," MPRA Paper 64371, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Leonard Wang & Tien-Der Han, 2015. "Better governance matters optimal privatization policy," Eurasian Economic Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 5(2), pages 189-206, December.
    10. Hai Wang & Weidong Zhang & Jingjing Wang, 2007. "Auctioning the state owned enterprise in China: the trade-off between maximizing revenue and minimizing unemployment," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 267-280, September.
    11. repec:pit:wpaper:454 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Bárcena-Ruiz, Juan Carlos, 2012. "Privatization when the public firm is as efficient as private firms," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 1019-1023.
    13. Lidia CERIANI & Simona SCABROSETTI, 2011. "The distributional impact of privatization in developing countries: the role of democratic institutions," Departmental Working Papers 2011-31, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    14. Holger MAHLENKAMP, 2015. "From State To Market Revisited: A Reassessment Of The Empirical Evidence On The Efficiency Of Public (And Privately-Owned) Enterprises," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 86(4), pages 535-557, December.
    15. Almas Heshmati, 2014. "Demand, Customer Base-Line And Demand Response In The Electricity Market: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(5), pages 862-888, December.
    16. Gong, Stephen X.H. & Cullinane, Kevin & Firth, Michael, 2012. "The impact of airport and seaport privatization on efficiency and performance: A review of the international evidence and implications for developing countries," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 37-47.
    17. Bhattacharya, Sourav & Kundu, Tapas, 2014. "Resistance, redistribution and investor-friendliness," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 124-142.
    18. Polterovich, Victor, 2012. "Приватизация и рациональная структура собственности (Privatizatsiya i ratsional’naya struktura sobstvennosti)
      [Privatization and the Rational Ownership Structure]
      ," MPRA Paper 41069, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Michael Böheim, 2012. "The Privatisation of Public Assets as an Economic Policy Instrument: Private versus Public Ownership of Companies – the Practical Implementation of Privatisation Projects and Economic Policy Conclusio," Austrian Economic Quarterly, WIFO, vol. 17(1), pages 55-68, May.
    20. Polterovich (Полтерович), Victor (Виктор), 2012. "Приватизация И Рациональная Структура Собственности. Часть 1. Приватизация: Проблема Эффективности
      [Privatization and the rational ownership structure. Part 1: privatization: the effeciency problem
      ," MPRA Paper 64145, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. Max B. Sawicky, 2016. "Low Visibility: The Fate of Air Traffic Control Privatization," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2016-01, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy

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