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Mass privatization, management control and efficiency

  • Boss, Dieter
  • Harms, Phillipp

We present a model where a government chooses the number of individuals to which ownership in a former state-owned firm shall be allocated. When making this decision the government maximizes the political support it gets from the firm's incumbent manager and from potential shareholders, anticipating that a greater dispersion of shares reduces the control of the manager by the firm's new owners. It turns out that shares will be allocated to the maximum number of individuals - and thus a policy of mass privatization will be implemented - if the manager's utility enters the political support function with a higher weight than the welfare of the potential shareholders. The result of the political process, however, need not conflict with the objective of achieving a Pareto-optimal allocation. Thus we contradict a widely shared presumption that mass privatization schemes sacrifice efficiency to satisfy political constraints and show that they can be very attractive from an efficiency point of view.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 64 (1997)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 343-357

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:64:y:1997:i:3:p:343-357
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. Roland, Gerard & Verdier, Thierry, 1994. "Privatization in Eastern Europe : Irreversibility and critical mass effects," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 161-183, June.
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  3. Boycko, Maxim & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1994. "Voucher privatization," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 249-266, April.
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  9. Border, Kim C & Sobel, Joel, 1987. "Samurai Accountant: A Theory of Auditing and Plunder," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 525-40, October.
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  13. Coughlin, Peter J. & Mueller, Dennis C. & Murrell, Peter, 1990. "A model of electroral competition with interest groups," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 307-311, April.
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