Historia de una empresa pública uruguaya: 60 años de Obras Sanitarias del Estado (OSE)
The objective of this paper is to analyze the long-run economic and productive evolution of State Sanitation Works (SSW), the state-owned monopoly that provides piped water to the whole country and sewage management to rural areas. This research was carried out within the framework of the project “Non-financial public enterprises in Uruguay and their relation to the political economy from a long-run perspective: 1912-2010”. First, we describe the evolution of water and sewage services in the period before SSW’s founding in 1952, placing these trends within the Latin American context. The central part of the document examines the primary economic and production variables in regard to SSW’s performance, relating them to the two development models through which the country, and a large part of the world, transited. The first one based on the industrial development directed by the state and the market expansion, and the second one characterized by the increasing dominance of external openness and neo-liberal policies. Finally, we analyze SSW’s reform process, the modernization of its administrative and operating systems, the reduction of personnel and the attempts at privatization, as well as the end of these efforts.
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