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Privatization, investment, and ownership efficiency


  • Pehr-Johan Norbäck
  • Lars Persson


We provide a model that explains the following empirical observations: (i) private ownership is more efficient than public ownership, (ii) privatizations are associated with increases in efficiency, and (iii) the increase in efficiency predates the privatization. The two key mechanisms explaining the results are: (i) a government owner keeping control can affect long-run employment levels when investing and (ii) a privatizing government has a stronger incentive to invest than an acquiring firm: the government exploits the fact that investments increase the sales price not only due to the increase in the acquirer's profit, but also due to a reduced profit for the non-acquirer. Copyright 2012 Oxford University Press 2011 All rights reserved, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Pehr-Johan Norbäck & Lars Persson, 2012. "Privatization, investment, and ownership efficiency," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 765-786, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:64:y:2012:i:4:p:765-786

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Roland, Gerard & Sekkat, Khalid, 2000. "Managerial career concerns, privatization and restructuring in transition economies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(10), pages 1857-1872, December.
    2. Pehr-Johan Norbäck & Lars Persson, 2009. "The Organization of the Innovation Industry: Entrepreneurs, Venture Capitalists, and Oligopolists," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(6), pages 1261-1290, December.
    3. Bennett, John & Maw, James, 2000. "Privatisation and market structure in a transition economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(3), pages 357-382, September.
    4. Bernardo Bortolotti & Marcella Fantini & Domenico Siniscalco, 2001. "Privatisation Around the World: New Evidence from Panel Data," CESifo Working Paper Series 600, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Simeon Djankov & Gerhard Pohl, 1997. "Restructuring of Large Firms in Slovakia," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 73, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    6. S. Baranzoni & P. Bianchi & L. Lambertini, 2000. "Multiproduct Firms, Product Differentiation, and Market Structure," Working Papers 368, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    7. Florencio López-de-Silanes, 1997. "Determinants of Privatization Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 965-1025.
    8. Bennedsen, Morten, 2000. "Political ownership," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 559-581, June.
    9. Bruno Biais & Enrico Perotti, 2002. "Machiavellian Privatization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 240-258, March.
    10. Jeffry M. Netter & William L. Megginson, 2001. "From State to Market: A Survey of Empirical Studies on Privatization," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 321-389, June.
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    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out
    • L40 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - General
    • P31 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Socialist Enterprises and Their Transitions


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