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The UK's Privatisation Experiment: The Passage of Time Permits a Sober Assessment

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  • David Parker

Abstract

This chapter looks at the UK’s privatisation experiment, which began from the late 1970s. It considers the background to the UK’s privatisations, which industries were privatised and how, and summarises the results of studies of performance changes in privatised companies in the UK. It looks at the relative roles of competition, regulation and ownership changes in determining performance improvement. It concludes by looking at the wider lessons that might be learned from the UK’s privatisation experiment, including the importance of developing competitive markets and, in their absence, effective regulatory regimes.

Suggested Citation

  • David Parker, 2004. "The UK's Privatisation Experiment: The Passage of Time Permits a Sober Assessment," CESifo Working Paper Series 1126, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1126
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp1126.pdf
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    1. Boycko, Maxim & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1996. "A Theory of Privatisation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(435), pages 309-319, March.
    2. Saal, David S & Parker, David, 2001. "Productivity and Price Performance in the Privatized Water and Sewerage Companies of England and Wales," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 61-90, July.
    3. Jean Shaoul, 2003. "A Financial Analysis of the National Air Traffic Services PPP," Public Money & Management, Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, vol. 23(3), pages 185-194, July.
    4. D. Parker, 2002. "Economic Regulation: a review of issues," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 73(4), pages 493-519, December.
    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. Dnes, Antony W. & Kodwani, Devendra G. & Seaton, Jonathan S. & Wood, Douglas, 1998. "The Regulation of the United Kingdom Electricity Industry: An Event Study of Price-Capping Measures," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 207-225, May.
    7. Da[ss]ler, Thoralf & Parker, David, 2004. "Harmony or disharmony in the regulation and the promotion of competition in EU telecommunications? A survey of the regulatory offices," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 9-28, March.
    8. David Parker & David Saal (ed.), 2003. "International Handbook on Privatization," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 2330.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. R. G. Lipsey & Kelvin Lancaster, 1956. "The General Theory of Second Best," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 11-32.
    12. E. Markou & C. Waddams Price, 1999. "UK utilities: Past reform and current proposals," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(3), pages 371-416, September.
    13. Newbery, D.M. & Pollitt, M.G., 1996. "The Restructuring and Privatisation of the CEGB: Was It Worth It?," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9607, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    14. Massimo Florio, 2001. "The welfare impact of a privatisation: the British Telecom case-history," Departmental Working Papers 2001-08, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    15. Catherine Waddams & Ruth Hancock, 1998. "Distributional effects of liberalising UK residential utility markets," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 19(3), pages 295-319, August.
    16. David S Saal & David Parker, 2000. "The impact of privatization and regulation on the water and sewerage industry in England and Wales: a translog cost function model," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(6), pages 253-268.
    17. David Tyrrall & David Parker, 2005. "The Fragmentation of a Railway: A Study of Organizational Change," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(3), pages 507-537, May.
    18. Parker, David, 1997. "Price cap regulation, profitability and returns to investors in the UK regulated industries," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 303-315, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Polterovich, V., 2013. "On Control of the Ownership Structure," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 177-182.
    2. Stephane Straub, 2011. "Infrastructure and Development: A Critical Appraisal of the Macro-level Literature," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(5), pages 683-708.
    3. Johan Willner, 2006. "A Mixed Oligopoly Where Private Firms Survive Welfare Maximisation," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 235-251, December.
    4. Mulatu, Abay & Crafts, Nicholas, 2005. "Efficiency among private railway companies in a weakly regulated system: the case of Britain's railways in 1893-1912," Economic History Working Papers 22552, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    5. Philippe Aghion & Richard Blundell & Rachel Griffith & Peter Howitt & Susanne Prantl, 2009. "The Effects of Entry on Incumbent Innovation and Productivity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 20-32, February.
    6. Graeme A. Hodge, 2010. "Reviewing Public–Private Partnerships: Some Thoughts on Evaluation," Chapters,in: International Handbook on Public–Private Partnerships, chapter 5 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Eoin Reeves, 2005. "Book Review - "Selling Out? – Privatisation in Ireland" by Paul Sweeney," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 36(1), pages 77-82.
    8. David Newbery, 2004. "Privatising Network Industries," CESifo Working Paper Series 1132, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. Polterovich, Victor, 2012. "Приватизация И Рациональная Структура Собственности. Часть 1. Приватизация: Проблема Эффективности
      [Privatization and the rational ownership structure. Part 1: privatization: the effeciency problem
      ," MPRA Paper 64371, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Polterovich (Полтерович), Victor (Виктор), 2012. "Приватизация И Рациональная Структура Собственности. Часть 1. Приватизация: Проблема Эффективности
      [Privatization and the rational ownership structure. Part 1: privatization: the effeciency problem
      ," MPRA Paper 64145, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Crafts, Nicholas & Mills, Terence C. & Mulatu, Abay, 2007. "Total factor productivity growth on Britain's railways, 1852-1912: A reappraisal of the evidence," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 608-634, October.

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    Keywords

    UK; privatisation; competition regulation; privatisation lessons;

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