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The Structure of Corporate ownership in Privatized Utilities

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  • Trillas, Francesco

Abstract

The purpose of this Paper is to study the determinants of the concentration of ownership in a privatized, regulated firm. The discussion illustrates some aspects of the costs and benefits of different corporate systems. Privatized utilities are large firms with professional management: there is a separation between ownership and control. The agency costs of this separation interact with the regulation of the product market. The main issue to be addressed here is how the degree to which regulators weigh investor profits when setting prices (the ‘regulatory climate’) affects the structure of corporate ownership, and more specifically the degree of shareholder concentration. Another, related issue, to be addressed is how deregulation affects corporate structure. In the benchmark case where the government maximizes privatization proceeds, it is shown that the optimal level of concentration increases with a tougher regulatory climate for investors. A more lenient regulatory regime increases the value of the commitment not to interfere implicit in a more dispersed ownership structure. Deregulation (through increasing monitoring costs) also pushes corporate structure in the direction of more ownership concentration. When political objectives are added to the analysis, it is shown that lobbying with managers induces levels of shareholder dispersion that are higher than in the benchmark case. Collusion with large shareholders, however, may yield higher concentration levels than in the benchmark. In the case of managerial lobbying, the leniency of the regulatory climate does not have any impact on the equilibrium stake of the blockholder, and has a negative impact on the difference between the political and the benchmark outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Trillas, Francesco, 2002. "The Structure of Corporate ownership in Privatized Utilities," CEPR Discussion Papers 3563, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3563
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Pau Castells & Francesc Trillas, 2008. "Political parties and the economy: Macro convergence, micro partisanship?," Working Papers 2008/1, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    2. Francesc Trillas, 2008. "Regulatory federalism in network industries," Working Papers 2008/8, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    3. Pau Castells & Francesc Trillas, 2013. "The effects of surprise political events on quoted firms: the March 2004 election in Spain," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 83-112, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    corporate governance; political economy; privatization; regulation;

    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L43 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Legal Monopolies and Regulation or Deregulation
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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