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The Missing Shock: The Macroeconomic Impact of British Privatisation

  • Massimo Florio

    (Department of Economics, University of Milan)

  • Mara Grasseni

    (Department of Economics, University of Milan)

The privatisation policy pursued in the UK by Mrs Thatcher's government (1979-1990) and subsequently by Mr Major's government (1990-1997) was the largest experiment in public divestitures among capitalist economies. It had a deep impact on economic policy-making world wide, and was vastly imitated, in Western Europe, in the former planned economies, in a number of less developed countries. In this paper we test the impact of privatisation on macroeconomic performance in the United Kingdom using quarterly data from 1979 to 1999. In the econometric model, we use privatisation proceeds as an explanatory variable and we control for several other variables. Testing for cointegration the results show that there is a long run equilibrium relationship between GDP growth and the variables used in the model. However, in our empirical analysis we find a weak evidence that privatisation generated an aggregate shock on output in the UK. This result is consistent with empirical literature on microeconomic evidence that shows that in the UK ownership change per se had little impact on long term productivity trends.

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Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2004.104.

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Date of creation: Jul 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2004.104
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  1. Steven Barnett, 2000. "Evidenceon the Fiscal and Macroeconomic Impact of Privatization," IMF Working Papers 00/130, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Søren Johansen & Katarina Juselius, 1992. "Identification of the Long-Run and the Short-Run Structure: An Application to the ISLM Model," Discussion Papers 92-04, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  3. Willem H. Buiter, 1990. "Principles of Budgetary and Financial Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262524139, June.
  4. Massimo Florio & Mara Grasseni, 2003. "The missing shock: the macroeconomic impact of British privatisation," Departmental Working Papers 2003-21, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
  5. G. A. Mackenzie, 1998. "The Macroeconomic Impact of Privatization," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 45(2), pages 363-373, June.
  6. Johansen, Soren, 1991. "Estimation and Hypothesis Testing of Cointegration Vectors in Gaussian Vector Autoregressive Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1551-80, November.
  7. Davidson, James E H, et al, 1978. "Econometric Modelling of the Aggregate Time-Series Relationship between Consumers' Expenditure and Income in the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 88(352), pages 661-92, December.
  8. repec:imf:imfpdp:97/9 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Johansen, Soren & Juselius, Katarina, 1990. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation and Inference on Cointegration--With Applications to the Demand for Money," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 52(2), pages 169-210, May.
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