IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Welfare Implications of Oil Privatisation: A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Norway’s Statoil


  • Wolf, C.
  • Pollitt, M.G.


The oil industry is of great economic significance to many countries, and privatisations of National Oil Companies (NOCs) have often been controversial, as have been the benefits from privatisation more generally. We conduct a social cost-benefit analysis of the partial privatisation of Norway’s Statoil and estimate net present welfare improvements of at least NOK 166 billion (US$18.4 billion) in 2001 money, which amounts to 11% of Norway’s GDP in that year. Savings on investment costs are the most important source of efficiency improvements, and two thirds of the overall benefits accrue at fellow stakeholders in Statoil-led operations. The state manages to capture 66% of the total welfare gain, with the remainder going to private shareholders and no changes to consumer surplus. It is shown that benefits from partial privatisation can be substantial, particularly if ownership change is supported by additional restructuring measures, and that privatisation can be structured with state involvement at several levels, aiming to maximise the public share of benefits.

Suggested Citation

  • Wolf, C. & Pollitt, M.G., 2009. "The Welfare Implications of Oil Privatisation: A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Norway’s Statoil," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0912, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0912

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Juliet D'souza & William L. Megginson, 1999. "The Financial and Operating Performance of Privatized Firms during the 1990s," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(4), pages 1397-1438, August.
    2. Richard Bozec & Mohamed Dia & Gaétan Breton, 2006. "Ownership-efficiency relationship and the measurement selection bias," Accounting and Finance, Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 46(5), pages 733-754.
    3. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1993. "A Theory of Incentives in Procurement and Regulation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121743, January.
    4. Boardman, Anthony E & Vining, Aidan R, 1989. "Ownership and Performance in Competitive Environments: A Comparison of the Performance of Private, Mixed, and State-Owned Enterprises," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 1-33, April.
    5. Michael G. Pollitt & Andrew S. J. Smith, 2002. "The restructuring and privatisation of British Rail: was it really that bad?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 23(4), pages 463-502, December.
    6. Stacy Eller & Peter Hartley & Kenneth Medlock, 2011. "Empirical evidence on the operational efficiency of National Oil Companies," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 623-643, May.
    7. Richard Green & Tanga McDaniel, 1998. "Competition in electricity supply: will ‘1998’ Be worth it?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 19(3), pages 273-293, August.
    8. Wolf, C. & Pollitt, M.G., 2008. "Privatising national oil companies: Assessing the impact on firm performance," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0811, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    9. 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.
    10. Newbery, David M & Pollitt, Michael G, 1997. "The Restructuring and Privatization of Britain's CEGB--Was It Worth It?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(3), pages 269-303, September.
    11. Welch, Ivo, 1989. " Seasoned Offerings, Imitation Costs, and the Underpricing of Initial Public Offerings," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(2), pages 421-449, June.
    12. Domah, P. & Pollitt, M.G., 2000. "The Restructuring and Privatisation of Electricity Distribution and Supply Businesses in England and Wales: A Social Cost Benefit Analysis," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0007, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    13. Dam, Kenneth W, 1974. "The Evolution of North Sea Licensing Policy in Britain and Norway," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 213-263, October.
    14. Anthony E. Boardman & Claude Laurin & Mark A. Moore & Aidan R. Vining, 2009. "A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Privatization of Canadian National Railway," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 35(1), pages 59-83, March.
    15. Mark A. Moore & Anthony E. Boardman & Aidan R. Vining & David L. Weimer & David H. Greenberg, 2004. "“Just give me a number!” Practical values for the social discount rate," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(4), pages 789-812.
    16. Nandini Gupta, 2005. "Partial Privatization and Firm Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(2), pages 987-1015, April.
    17. William L. Megginson & Robert C. Nash & Jeffry Netter & Adam L. Schwartz, 2000. "The Long-Run Return to Investors in Share Issue Privatizations," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 29(1), Spring.
    18. Jones, Steven L. & Megginson, William L. & Nash, Robert C. & Netter, Jeffry M., 1999. "Share issue privatizations as financial means to political and economic ends," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 217-253, August.
    19. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Pollitt, Michael G., 2012. "The role of policy in energy transitions: Lessons from the energy liberalisation era," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 128-137.
    2. VAN DE VOORDE, Eddy & VERHOEVEN, Patrick, 2014. "The economics of port authority reform. A framework for ex-post evaluation," Working Papers 2014017, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Applied Economics.
    3. repec:clh:resear:v:5:y:2012:i:3 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:jrpoli:v:54:y:2017:i:c:p:71-80 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Aidan R. VINING & Anthony E. BOARDMAN & Mark A. MOORE, 2014. "The Theory And Evidence Pertaining To Local Government Mixed Enterprises," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 85(1), pages 53-86, March.

    More about this item


    Privatisation; Cost-Benefit; Welfare; Oil and Gas; Norway;

    JEL classification:

    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out
    • L71 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Mining, Extraction, and Refining: Hydrocarbon Fuels
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0912. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jake Dyer). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.