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Methods of Privatization: Auctions, Bargaining and Give-Aways


  • Schmidt, Klaus M.
  • Schnitzer, Monika


The paper surveys recent results of auction theory, bargaining theory and political economy in order to compare different methods of privatization. We assume that a government is not only interested in maximizing revenues from privatization, but also in achieving an efficient allocation of ownership rights. We show that these two goals may conflict with each other. We argue that in a wide variety of circumstances the government should use an ascending open bid format, however, such as the traditional English auction. In particular, if there are more than two serious bidders, an English auction is more efficient and yields higher revenues than bargaining with a preselected buyer. Finally, if the government has to mass privatize, we show that giving away some fraction of all shares to the general population may be more efficient and yield higher revenues than a policy of selling all firms to the highest bidder.

Suggested Citation

  • Schmidt, Klaus M. & Schnitzer, Monika, 1997. "Methods of Privatization: Auctions, Bargaining and Give-Aways," CEPR Discussion Papers 1541, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1541

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:bmo:bmoart:v:4:y:2017:i:1:p:17-32 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Karl-Markus Modén & Pehr-Johan Norbäck & Lars Persson, 2008. "Efficiency and Ownership Structure: The Case of Poland," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(3), pages 437-460, March.
    3. Pehr-Johan Norbäck & Lars Persson, 2005. "Privatization Policy in an International Oligopoly," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 72(288), pages 635-653, November.
    4. Siegmund, Uwe, 1997. "Wie privatisieren und wer privatisiert? Zur Erklärung der Wahl der Privatisierungsmethode und -organisation," Kiel Working Papers 812, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    5. Norback, Pehr-Johan & Persson, Lars, 2004. "Privatization and foreign competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 409-416, March.
    6. Hai Wang & Weidong Zhang & Jingjing Wang, 2007. "Auctioning the state owned enterprise in China: the trade-off between maximizing revenue and minimizing unemployment," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 267-280, September.
    7. Patrick W. Schmitz, 2000. "Partial Privatization and Incomplete Contracts: The Proper Scope of Government Reconsidered," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 57(4), pages 394-411, August.
    8. Arijit Mukherjee & Kullapat Suetrong, "undated". "Privatisation, strategic foreign direct investment and the host country welfare," Discussion Papers 07/21, University of Nottingham, GEP.
    9. Norbäck, Pehr-Johan & Persson, Lars, 2003. "Privatization and Restructuring in Concentrated Markets," Working Paper Series 605, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    10. Mukherjee, Arijit & Sinha, Uday Bhanu, 2014. "Can cost asymmetry be a rationale for privatisation?," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 497-503.
    11. Monika Schnitzer, 2003. "Privatisierung in Osteuropa: Strategien und Ergebnisse," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 4(3), pages 359-378, August.
    12. Norback, Pehr-Johan & Persson, Lars, 2006. "Endogenous asset ownership structures in deregulated markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(7), pages 1729-1752, October.
    13. Arijit Mukherjee & Kullapat Suetrong, 2013. "Privatization, Incentive Delegation and Foreign Direct Investment," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 657-676, September.

    More about this item


    Eastern Europe; Expropriation; Mass Privatization; Political Economy;

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior


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