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Foreign direct investment, political resentment and the privatization process in eastern Europe

  • Sinn, Hans-Werner
  • Weichenrieder, Alfons J.

Foreign direct investment has been disappointingly low in eastern Europe, which has been reluctant to make existing assets available to foreign investors. To mitigate any such resentment, we propose a participation model in which foreign investors compete for joint venture contracts. Host governments contribute existing assets and receive non-voting stocks. Foreign investors, contributing capital and know-how, receive voting shares and control of operational decisions. This has several advantages over the cash sale of assets to foreigners. First, stock flow problems are eased, raising both asset prices and FDI flows. Second, by retaining some stake in the firm, transition countries share in the risk premium. Third, governments can hand over their shares to households, creating private collateral to foster new small businesses. Fourth, and crucially, compared to cash sales the auction of participation contracts offers higher privatization revenues in cases where governments cannot assess investors’ knowledge and abilities. This reduces the risk of selling the family silver too cheaply, and should alleviate the host countries’ resentment.

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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 19562.

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Date of creation: 1997
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Economic Policy 24 12(1997): pp. 177-210
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:19562
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  1. Samuelson, William, 1987. "Auctions with Contingent Payments: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 740-45, September.
  2. Jonathan Eaton & Mark Gersovitz, 1982. "A Theory of Expropriation and Deviations From Perfect Capital Mobility," NBER Working Papers 0972, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Elmar WOLFSTETTER, 1994. "Auctions: An Introduction," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1994,13, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  4. Hans-Werner Sinn, 1995. "Staggering along: wages policy and investment support in East Germany," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 3(4), pages 403-426, December.
  5. Demougin, Dominique & Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1994. "Privatization, risk-taking, and the communist firm," Munich Reprints in Economics 20039, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  6. Bond, E.W. & Samuelson, L., 1988. "Strategic Behavior And The Rules For International Taxation Of Capital," Papers 3-88-10, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  7. Riley, John G, 1988. "Ex Post Information in Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(3), pages 409-29, July.
  8. Weichenrieder, Alfons J, 1996. " Transfer Pricing, Double Taxation, and the Cost of Capital," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 98(3), pages 445-52.
  9. R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan, 1986. "Bidding for Contracts: A Principal-Agent Analysis," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(3), pages 326-338, Autumn.
  10. Hansen, Robert G, 1985. "Auctions with Contingent Payments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 862-65, September.
  11. Boycko, Maxim & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1994. "Voucher privatization," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 249-266, April.
  12. Cremer, Jacques, 1987. "Auctions with Contingent Payments: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 746, September.
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