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Privatization and Labor Force Restructuring Around the World

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  • Alberto Chong

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  • Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes

Abstract

Critics of privatization argue that poor labor force restructuring is a key concern and that governments should establish better retrenchment programs. Using new data from a random sample of 400 companies in the world, we test competing theories about the wisdom of retrenchment programs and their effect on prices paid by buyers and re-hiring policies by private owners after privatization. Our results show that adverse selection plagues retrenchment programs carried out by governments before privatization. Controlling for endogeneity, several labor retrenchment policies yield a negative impact on net privatization prices. In confirmation of the adverse selection argument, various types of voluntary downsizing lead to a higher frequency of re-hiring of the same workers by the new private owners. Compulsory skill-based programs are the only type of program that is marginally associated with higher prices and lower re-hiring rates after privatization, but the political and economic costs of this policy may make it somewhat impractical. A qualified “do not intervene” appears to be the safest bet with respect to labor retrenchment before privatization.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Chong & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes, 2003. "Privatization and Labor Force Restructuring Around the World," Research Department Publications 4329, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4329
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Estache, Antonio & Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Zhang, Xinzhu, 2004. "Downsizing with labor sharing and collusion," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 519-540, April.
    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. Andres, Luis & Foster, Vivien & Guasch, Jose Luis, 2006. "The impact of privatization on the performance of the infrastructure sector : the case of electricity distribution in Latin American countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3936, The World Bank.
    4. Chang, Roberto & Hevia, Constantino & Loayza, Norman, 2018. "Privatization And Nationalization Cycles," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(02), pages 331-361, March.
    5. Dastidar, Siddhartha G. & Fisman, Raymond & Khanna, Tarun, 2008. "Testing limits to policy reversal: Evidence from Indian privatizations," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(3), pages 513-526, September.
    6. Virgilio Galdo & Alberto Chong, 2006. "On Foreign Participation and Hiring Patterns After Privatization," Research Department Publications 4441, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    7. Doh-Shin Jeon & Jean-Jacques Laffont, 2006. "Labor Market Information Acquisition and Downsizing," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(3), pages 347-366, August.
    8. Alberto Chong & Virgilio Galdo, 2006. "Streamlining and Privatization Prices in the Telecommunications Industry," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 73(291), pages 461-484, August.
    9. Alberto Chong & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes, 2004. "Privatization in Mexico," Research Department Publications 4373, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    10. Virgilio Galdo & Alberto Chong, 2006. "Sobre la participación extranjera y los patrones de contratación después de la privatización," Research Department Publications 4442, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    11. Jalilian, Hossein & Kirkpatrick, Colin & Parker, David, 2003. "Creating the Conditions for International Business Expansion: The Impact of Regulation on Economic Growth in Developing Countries - A Cross-Country Analysis," Centre on Regulation and Competition (CRC) Working papers 30689, University of Manchester, Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM).
    12. J. David Brown & John Earle & Almos Telegdy, 2005. "Does Privatization Hurt Workers? Lessons from Comprehensive Manufacturing Firm Panel Data in Hungary, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine," CERT Discussion Papers 0509, Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University.
    13. John Nellis, 2003. "Privatization in Latin America," Working Papers 31, Center for Global Development.
    14. Alberto Chong & Alejandro Riaño, 2006. "El entorno político y los precios de las privatizaciones," Research Department Publications 4440, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    15. Asiedu, Kofi Fred & Folmer, Henk, 2007. "Does Privatization Improve Job Satisfaction? The Case of Ghana," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 1779-1795, October.
    16. John Nellis, 2006. "Privatization: A Summary Assessment," Working Papers 87, Center for Global Development.
    17. Fan, Joseph P.H. & Wong, T.J. & Zhang, Tianyu, 2007. "Politically connected CEOs, corporate governance, and Post-IPO performance of China's newly partially privatized firms," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 330-357, May.
    18. Dong, Xiao-yuan & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2009. "Labor restructuring in China: Toward a functioning labor market," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 287-305, June.
    19. repec:idb:idbbks:358 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Alejandro Riaño & Alberto E. Chong, 2006. "Political Environment and Privatization Prices," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 1563, Inter-American Development Bank.
    21. Birdsall, Nancy & Nellis, John, 2003. "Winners and Losers: Assessing the Distributional Impact of Privatization," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(10), pages 1617-1633, October.
    22. Alberto Chong & Virgilio Galdo, 2003. "La racionalización y los precios de la privatización en el sector de las telecomunicaciones," Research Department Publications 4320, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    23. Vivien Foster & José Luis Guasch & Luis Andrés & Thomas Haven, 2008. "The Impact of Private Sector Participation in Infrastructure: Lights, Shadows, and the Road Ahead," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 59818, February.
    24. Luis A. Andrés & J. Luis Guasch & Thomas Haven & Vivien Foster, 2008. "The Impact of Private Sector Participation in Infrastructure : Lights, Shadows, and the Road Ahead," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6545.

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