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The role played by public enterprises: how much does it differ across countries?

  • James A. Schmitz

This article studies the extent to which governments produce goods for the market (that is, the extent of public enterprise production). It concludes that the current literature dramatically understates the role of public enterprises in many low-productivity countries. The current literature focuses on the total value of goods produced by public enterprises. This article focuses on the types of goods they produce. While the total value of goods produced by public enterprises (as a share of total output) differs a bit across countries, the types of goods they produce differ much more dramatically. In many low-productivity countries, the government produces a large share of the country's manufactured goods. In nearly all high-productivity countries, the government stays out of the manufacturing sector altogether. Therefore—and because the manufacturing sector plays a special role in economies—this article concludes that public enterprises play a very large role in many low-productivity countries.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its journal Quarterly Review.

Volume (Year): (1996)
Issue (Month): Spr ()
Pages: 2-15

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmqr:y:1996:i:spr:p:2-15:n:v.20no.2
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  1. 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.
  2. Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Getting Interventions Right: How South Korea and Taiwan Grew Rich," NBER Working Papers 4964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. John Vickers & George Yarrow, 1988. "Privatization: An Economic Analysis," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262720116, June.
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