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The Privatisation of Public Assets as an Economic Policy Instrument: Private versus Public Ownership of Companies – Theoretical Foundations


  • Michael Böheim



"Competition", "liberalisation" and "privatisation" are emotive words in Austria's economic policy debate. To contribute to a less emotional discussion on the "privatisation of public assets" WIFO provides an objective and balanced analysis, not only of the advantages and opportunities of privatisations, but also of their disadvantages and problems. The analysis is presented in three articles in WIFO's Austrian Economic Quarterly, which are based on the theoretical literature and empirical evidence. This first article of the series focuses on the theoretical foundations and the mutual relations of private and public ownership of companies. According to economic theory government interference in the form of public enterprise is only justified in a market economy, if there is market failure and the specific government intervention can actually eliminate the market failure.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Böheim, 2011. "The Privatisation of Public Assets as an Economic Policy Instrument: Private versus Public Ownership of Companies – Theoretical Foundations," Austrian Economic Quarterly, WIFO, vol. 16(3), pages 185-195, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:wfo:wquart:y:2011:i:3:p:185-195

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:hrv:faseco:33077889 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Andrei Shleifer, 1998. "State versus Private Ownership," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 133-150, Fall.
    3. Oliver Hart & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. "The Proper Scope of Government: Theory and an Application to Prisons," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1127-1161.
    4. Megginson, William Leon, 2005. "The Financial Economics of Privatization," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195150629, June.
    5. Lars Jonung & Jaakko Kiander & Pentti Vartia, 2008. "The great financial crisis in Finland and Sweden - The dynamics of boom, bust and recovery, 1985-2000," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 350, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    6. Kay, J A & Thompson, D J, 1986. "Privatisation: A Policy in Search of a Rationale," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(381), pages 18-32, March.
    7. Patrick W. Schmitz, 2000. "Partial Privatization and Incomplete Contracts: The Proper Scope of Government Reconsidered," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 57(4), pages 394-411, August.
    8. repec:hrv:faseco:30727607 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1994. "Politicians and Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 995-1025.
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