Assessing the Impact of Mali's Water Privatization across Stakeholders
This paper offers a quantitative evaluation of the distribution of the welfare of a water privatization experience in Mali among the key economic agents. The assessment is based on an index number inspired by Bennet (1920). The main results are as follows. First, taxpayers are the main losers as residual subsidies are much higher than expected at the time of privatization. Second and contrary to what is often claimed, users benefited through lower real water prices. Third, labor, intermediate suppliers and investors have also benefited. Fourth, foreign actors benefited. However, they did so much more than the domestic actors and this is probably what explains best the unhappiness of the Malians. Ultimately, it is the regulator’s decision to improve the relative distribution of gains that explains the departure of the private operator and the widespread sense of the failure of an experience that has generated welfare gains for users and workers, at least in the short run.
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