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Selling Public Enterprises: A Cost/Benefit Methodology


  • Leroy P. Jones

    () (Boston University)

  • Pankaj Tandon

    () (Boston University)

  • Ingo Vogelsang

    () (Boston University)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Leroy P. Jones & Pankaj Tandon & Ingo Vogelsang, 1990. "Selling Public Enterprises: A Cost/Benefit Methodology," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262600625, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:mtp:titles:0262600625

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Van Wijnbergen, Sweden, 1986. "On fiscal deficits, the real exchange rate and the world rate of interest," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 1013-1023, October.
    2. Tabellini, Guido & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "Voting on the Budget Deficit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 37-49, March.
    3. Tobin, James, 1969. "A General Equilibrium Approach to Monetary Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 15-29, February.
    4. Sutherland, Alan, 1997. "Fiscal crises and aggregate demand: can high public debt reverse the effects of fiscal policy?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 147-162, August.
    5. Menahem E. Yaari, 1965. "Uncertain Lifetime, Life Insurance, and the Theory of the Consumer," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(2), pages 137-150.
    6. Robert Summers & Alan Heston, 1991. "The Penn World Table (Mark 5): An Expanded Set of International Comparisons, 1950–1988," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 327-368.
    7. Uzawa, H, 1969. "Time Preference and the Penrose Effect in a Two-Class Model of Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(4), pages 628-652, Part II, .
    8. van Wijnbergen, Sweder, 1987. "Tariffs, Employment and the Current Account: Real Wage Resistance and the Macroeconomics of Protectionism," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(3), pages 691-706, October.
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    More about this item


    privatization; divestiture; valuation method;

    JEL classification:

    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out


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