IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Siddhartha G. Dastidar & Raymond Fisman & Tarun Khanna, 2007. "Testing Limits to Policy Reversal: Evidence from Indian Privatizations," NBER Working Papers 13427, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13427
    Note: CF POL

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:hrv:faseco:33077889 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Chong, Alberto & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio, 2002. "Privatization and labor force restructuring around the world," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2884, The World Bank.
    3. Paul H. Malatesta & Kathryn L. DeWenter, 2001. "State-Owned and Privately Owned Firms: An Empirical Analysis of Profitability, Leverage, and Labor Intensity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 320-334, March.
    4. Andrei Shleifer, 1998. "State versus Private Ownership," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 133-150, Fall.
    5. Nandini Gupta, 2005. "Partial Privatization and Firm Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(2), pages 987-1015, April.
    6. Tabellini, Guido & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "Voting on the Budget Deficit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 37-49, March.
    7. Perotti, Enrico C, 1995. "Credible Privatization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 847-859, September.
    8. Gupta, Nandini & Ham, Jhon C. & Svejnar, Jan, 2008. "Priorities and sequencing in privatization: Evidence from Czech firm panel data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 183-208, February.
    9. 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.
    10. Mara Faccio, 2006. "Politically Connected Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 369-386, March.
    11. 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.
    12. Raymond Fisman, 2001. "Estimating the Value of Political Connections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1095-1102, September.
    13. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Boubakri, Narjess & Cosset, Jean-Claude & Guedhami, Omrane & Saffar, Walid, 2011. "The political economy of residual state ownership in privatized firms: Evidence from emerging markets," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 244-258, April.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13427. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.