IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Political Economy of Mass Privatization and the Risk of Expropriation


  • Schmidt, Klaus M.


The privatization process in Eastern Europe is not irreversible. Future governments may want to expropriate successful private firms by increasing taxation or by renationalizing them in order to subsidize unsuccessful firms. The paper uses a simple median voter model to predict the policy of future governments. It is shown that there will be less expropriation the more shares are distributed free to the population. It is better to distribute shares equally across the population rather than to give them to insiders of each firm. Furthermore, people should be discouraged from selling their shares for cash. The threat of expropriation adversely affects investment and restructuring efforts. It is shown that a mass privatization scheme which includes substantial free distribution of shares may induce more investment, higher expected profits and higher privatization revenues for the government than a policy that relies exclusively on selling shares to the highest bidder.

Suggested Citation

  • Schmidt, Klaus M., 1997. "The Political Economy of Mass Privatization and the Risk of Expropriation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1542, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1542

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Roland, Gerard & Verdier, Thierry, 1994. "Privatization in Eastern Europe : Irreversibility and critical mass effects," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 161-183, June.
    2. Schmidt Klaus M. & Schnitzer Monika, 1993. "Privatization and Management Incentives in the Transition Period in Eastern Europe," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 264-287, June.
    3. Jean Tirole, 1991. "Privatization in Eastern Europe: Incentives and the Economics of Transition," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1991, Volume 6, pages 221-268 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Expropriation; Mass Privatization; Political Economy; Transition;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out


    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:cpr:ceprdp:1542. 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: (). 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.