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The comparative performance of public and private enterprise


  • Richard Pryke


The nationalised industries' performance was unsatisfactory during the 1970s. However the same can be said of much of the private sector. Poor management and low productivity are by no means confined to public enterprise and financial assistance, which has had such an adverse effect on the efficiency of the nationalised concerns, might-in the absence of public ownership-have been afforded to private firms in the way that it has abroad. Moreover, for many of the industries the alternative to state ownership is not competition under private ownership but private monopoly operating under public regulation. Hence many of the weaknesses which appear to spring from public ownership could be the result of monopoly. It is therefore a matter of judgement as to whether the ownership of the nationalised industries by the state helps to explain why they have, in general, performed so badly. In my latest book The Nationalised Industries: Policies and Performance since 1968 I concluded that public ownership has had a deleterious effect but this was at best no more than an informed opinion (and in an earlier survey of the industries, which covered the period up to 1968, I reached a different verdict).

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Pryke, 1982. "The comparative performance of public and private enterprise," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 3(2), pages 68-81, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:3:y:1982:i:2:p:68-81

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    Cited by:

    1. Cook, Paul & Fabella, Raul V., 1997. "The Welfare and Political Economy Dimensions of Private vs State Enterprise," General Discussion Papers 30561, University of Manchester, Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM).
    2. Bozec, Richard, 2004. "L’analyse comparative de la performance entre les entreprises publiques et les entreprises privées : le problème de mesure et son impact sur les résultats," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 80(4), pages 619-654, Décembre.
    3. Jean-Jacques Santini, 1986. "Les dénationalisations britanniques : objectifs et réalisations," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 76(5), pages 47-69.
    4. 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.
    5. Bjuggren, Per-Olof & af Donner, Henrik, 2002. "Ownership of a cultural landmark: The case of Gotha Canal," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 499-519, May.
    6. Chen, Gongmeng & Firth, Michael & Rui, Oliver, 2006. "Have China's enterprise reforms led to improved efficiency and profitability?," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 82-109, March.
    7. Juan Carlos Morales Piñero & Joaquim Vergés i Jaime, 2007. "Public Enterprise Reforms and Efficiency in Regulated Enviroments," Working Papers 0702, Departament Empresa, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, revised Jan 2007.
    8. Cooper, William W. & Gallegos, Armando & Granof, Michael H., 1995. "A Delphi study of goals and evaluation criteria of state and privately owned Latin American airlines," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 273-285, December.
    9. Kamath Shyam J., 1994. "Privatization: A Market Prospect Perspective," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-52, March.

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