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Privatization in Colombia: A Plant Performance Analysis


  • Carlos Pombo
  • Manuel Ramírez


This paper describes the privatization program carried out in the productive sector of the Colombian economy during the 1990s. It evaluates privatization within the policy context of general market deregulation and the promotion of private investment in the provision of public infrastructure and domiciliary public services. Two case studies are explored: the manufacturing and power sectors. The paper follows the ex-post measuring and econometric analysis of a set of operative and restructuring performance indicators for the privatized firms. For manufacturing, the study sample consists of 30 large manufacturing firms of which the Instituto de Fomento Industrial was the founding or supporting partner. The main findings suggest that those firms followed pro-cyclical behavior relative to their private competitors and undertook tight plant operative restructuring. For the power sector, the paper studies the impact of regulatory reform on market entry, ownership structure, market competition, and productive efficiency of the privatized holdings. The results suggest that privatization and entry competition in power generation have had a positive effect on the privatized utilities’ efficiency and investment. With respect to thermal generation, the measurement of productive efficiency follows a data envelope analysis technique based on a sample of 33 plants that account for 85% of the installed capacity. The sample units are plants that were active before the reform and new entrants that started business operations after the reform. The main outcome shows that efficiency scores have improved after the reform and that regulatory policy has had a positive effect on productive efficiency.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlos Pombo & Manuel Ramírez, 2003. "Privatization in Colombia: A Plant Performance Analysis," Research Department Publications 3151, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:3151

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    9. Israel Fainboim Yaker & Carlos Jorge Rodríguez & Juan Benavides & Julio César Alonso, 2001. "Participación Privada en Proyectos de Infraestructura y Determinantes de los Esquemas Contractuales Adoptados: El Caso Colombiano," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 2115, Inter-American Development Bank.
    10. Carlos Pombo, 1999. "Productividad industrial en Colombia: Una aplicación de números índices," REVISTA DE ECONOMÍA DEL ROSARIO, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cavaliere, Christianne & Larsen, Erik R. & Dyner, Isaac, 2007. "The privatization of EEB: From cash drain to major contributor," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 1884-1895, March.
    2. Alberto Chong & Florencio de, 2003. "The Truth about Privatization in Latin America," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm436, Yale School of Management.
    3. Felipe Barrera-Osorio & Mauricio Olivera & Carlos Ospino, 2009. "Does Society Win or Lose as a Result of Privatization? The Case of Water Sector Privatization in Colombia," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(304), pages 649-674, October.
    4. Velloso, Helvia & Núñez Reyes, Georgina, 2009. "El papel de la gobernanza corporativa en la recuperación y desarrollo de los mercados de capital en Estados Unidos," Copublicaciones, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), number 2012, December.
    5. Daniele CHECCHI & Massimo FLORIO & Jorge CARRERA, 2004. "Privatization discontent and its determinants: evidence from Latin America," Departmental Working Papers 2004-23, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    6. Paula, Germano M. de, 2009. "Gobernanza corporativa, políticas públicas, mercado de capitales e inversiones extranjeras," Copublicaciones, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), number 2010, December.
    7. repec:bdr:ensayo:v::y:2005:i:49:p:88-132 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Viscencio Brambila, Héctor, 2009. "Gobernanza corporativa: el caso de México," Copublicaciones, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), number 2017, December.
    9. Aarón Garavito A. & Ana María Iregui & María Teresa Ramírez G., 2012. "Inversión Extranjera Directa en Colombia: Evolución reciente y marco normativo," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 009655, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
    10. Tooraj Jamasb & Rabindra Nepal & Govinda Timilsina & Michael Toman, 2014. "Energy Sector Reform, Economic Efficiency and Poverty Reduction," Discussion Papers Series 529, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    11. Ligia Melo & Néstor Espinosa, 2005. "Ineficiencia en la distribución de energía eléctrica: una aplicación de las funciones de distancia estocástica," ENSAYOS SOBRE POLÍTICA ECONÓMICA, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA - ESPE, vol. 23(49), pages 88-132, December.
    12. William L. Megginson & Natalie L. Sutter, 2006. "Privatisation in Developing Countries," Corporate Governance: An International Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(4), pages 234-265, July.
    13. Gutiérrez, Luis & Pombo, Carlos, 2008. "Capital markets and corporate governance in Colombia," Galeras. Working Papers Series 025, Universidad de Los Andes. Facultad de Administración. School of Management.
    14. Pombo, Carlos & Taborda, Rodrigo, 2006. "Performance and efficiency in Colombia's power distribution system: Effects of the 1994 reform," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 339-369, May.
    15. Mauricio Olivera & Felipe Barrera, 2007. "La sociedad gana o pierde como resultado de la privatizacion? El caso de Colombia," Research Department Publications 3231, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    16. Diana Oliveros & Mauricio Mendoza, 2013. "¿Es la privatización la solución a los problemas de ineficiencia de las empresas públicas?: Revisión de la literatura," REVISTA LEBRET, UNIVERSIDAD SANTO TOMAS - BUCARAMANGA, December.
    17. Jamasb,Tooraj & Nepal,Rabindra & Timilsina,Govinda R., 2015. "A quarter century effort yet to come of age : a survey of power sector reforms in developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7330, The World Bank.
    18. Clarke, Alvaro, 2009. "Buenos gobiernos corporativos para los negocios: el caso de Chile," Copublicaciones, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), number 2015, December.
    19. Paula, Germano M. de, 2009. "Gobernanza corporativa y mercado de capitales en Brasil," Copublicaciones, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), number 2013, December.
    20. Pombo, Carlos & Gutiérrez, Luis H., 2009. "Mercados de capitales y gobernanza corporativa en Colombia," Copublicaciones, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), number 2016, December.
    21. Jaime Andrés Collazos & Héctor Ochoa, 2005. "The Effects of a Monopolistic Market Structure on the Assessment of Privatized Companies: The Colombia Case," ENSAYOS SOBRE ECONOMÍA REGIONAL (ESER) 013869, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA - ECONOMÍA REGIONAL.
    22. Javier Alonso & Jasmina Bjeletic & Carlos Herrera & Soledad Hormazabal & Ivonne Ordonez & Carolina Romero & David Tuesta, 2010. "A Balance of Pension Fund Infrastructure Investments: The Experience in Latin America," Working Papers 1003, BBVA Bank, Economic Research Department.
    23. Isidro Hernández, 2003. "Las privatizaciones en Colombia," REVISTA APUNTES DEL CENES, UNIVERSIDAD PEDAGOGICA Y TECNOLOGICA DE COLOMBIA, December.
    24. López-de-Silanes, Florencio, 2009. "Gobierno corporativo y mercados financieros en la OCDE y América Latina: lecciones para los cambios regulatorios después de la crisis financiera," Copublicaciones, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), number 2011, December.
    25. Kabir Malik & Maureen Cropper & Alexander Limonov & Anoop Singh, 2011. "Estimating the Impact of Restructuring on Electricity Generation Efficiency: The Case of the Indian Thermal Power Sector," NBER Working Papers 17383, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights


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