Privatization and Efficiency in a Differentiated Industry
We consider a market in which a public firm competes against private ones, and ask what happens when the public firm is privatized. In the short run, privatization is harmful because prices rise: the disciplinary role of the public firm is lost. In the long run, privatization leads to further entry; the net effect is beneficial if consumer preference for variety is not too weak. A sufficient statistic for the social surplus to he higher in the long run is that the public firm makes a loss. This suggests that profitable firma should not necessarily be privatized.
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