Selling Public Enterprises: A Cost/Benefit Methodology
Much has been written about the current trend toward privatization of public enterprises. Selling Public Enterprises is the first book, however, to use economic logic to develop a quantitative approach to making divestiture decisions. Using the standard tools of applied microeconomics, the authors propose a method of valuing state-owned firms both before and after divestiture by the government. Their valuation method offers significant advantages over those commonly in use (such as book value of assets) and can provide governments with a reliable means of evaluating the costs and benefits of reforming state-owned enterprise policies and procedures. Selling Public Enterprises focuses on the pivotal questions of whether the enterprise should be sold, to whom should it be sold, and at what price. It identifies the social value of the enterprise under continued government operation, the social value under private operation, and the private value under private operation as being critical in determining the answers to these questions. In each case "social value" indicates the economic promise of such a venture to both households and firms of the country involved. The authors take up such topics as shadow pricing, the basic framework of welfare aggregation, the valuation of public income, private income and investment income, base flows and stocks, and the effect of sale prices on public and private values. They discuss the possibility of synergies and strategic behavior and present both a valuation algorithm and a sensitivity analysis. In the concluding chapters they address distributional realities and describe various dimensions of divestiture policy such as lifting constraints on enterprise behavior, improving the net benefit of divestiture, and coping with political constraints.
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