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Testing Limits to Policy Reversal: Evidence from Indian Privatizations

  • Siddhartha G. Dastidar
  • Raymond Fisman
  • Tarun Khanna

We examine the effect of regime change on privatization using the 2004 election surprise in India. The pro-reform BJP was unexpectedly defeated by a less reformist coalition. Stock prices of government-controlled companies that had been slated for definite privatization by the BJP dropped by 3.5 percent relative to private firms. Surprisingly, government-controlled companies that were only under study for possible privatization fell by 7.5 percent relative to private firms. We interpret this as evidence of investor belief of policy irreversibility, where reforms may reach a stage beyond which future regimes have difficulty reversing those policies. Further analysis suggests that layoffs, combined with the privatization announcement, served as a credible commitment to the government's privatization agenda.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13427.

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Date of creation: Sep 2007
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Publication status: published as 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.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13427
Note: CF POL
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  1. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 1988. "Voting on the Budget Deficit," NBER Working Papers 2759, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
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  8. Jeffry M. Netter & William L. Megginson, 2001. "From State to Market: A Survey of Empirical Studies on Privatization," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 321-389, June.
  9. Jones, Steven L. & Megginson, William L. & Nash, Robert C. & Netter, Jeffry M., 1999. "Share issue privatizations as financial means to political and economic ends," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 217-253, August.
  10. Perotti, Enrico C, 1995. "Credible Privatization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 847-59, September.
  11. Nandini Gupta, 2005. "Partial Privatization and Firm Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(2), pages 987-1015, 04.
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