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The Privatisation of Public Assets as an Economic Policy Instrument: Private versus Public Ownership of Companies – Empirical Evidence and Considerations for Industrial Location Policy


  • Michael Böheim



This second contribution to WIFO's series of articles on privatisation focuses on the analysis of the empirical evidence. It also investigates which extent of government withdrawal from state-owned enterprises would be optimal from the perspective of industrial location policy. According to the international empirical evidence private ownership is generally the more efficient and more profitable form of ownership by economic standards. Only in narrowly defined exceptions, if functioning competition cannot be achieved via the respective regulation as, e.g., in the case of services of general interest, a permanent strategic investment by the government as core shareholder is justified from an economic perspective.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Böheim, 2011. "The Privatisation of Public Assets as an Economic Policy Instrument: Private versus Public Ownership of Companies – Empirical Evidence and Considerations for Industrial Location Policy," Austrian Economic Quarterly, WIFO, vol. 16(4), pages 244-255, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:wfo:wquart:y:2011:i:4:p:244-255

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Megginson, William Leon, 2005. "The Financial Economics of Privatization," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195150629, June.
    2. Vining, Aidan R & Boardman, Anthony E, 1992. "Ownership versus Competition: Efficiency in Public Enterprise," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 73(2), pages 205-239, March.
    3. 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.
    4. Susanne Sieber, 2008. "Österreichs Attraktivität für ausländische Direktinvestitionen sowie als Standort für Headquarters Funktionen," FIW Research Reports series I-021, FIW.
    5. Ros, Agustin J, 1999. "Does Ownership or Competition Matter? The Effects of Telecommunications Reform on Network Expansion and Efficiency," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 65-92, January.
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