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Privatization, Market Liberalization and Learning in Transition Economies

  • Rachael E. Goodhue
  • Gordon C. Rausser
  • Leo K. Simon

Privatization and market liberalization are widely considered to be complementary reforms in transition economies. This paper challenges this view and closely related "big bang" approach to economic reform. Our analysis suggests that when pursued too vigorously, privatization may actually impede the transition process following market liberalization. Our result is based on an explicit model of market learning, which is a vital component of the economic transition process. Compared to fully-functioning market in a mature market economy, a market in transition is characterized by greater uncertainty regarding market conditions, including free market equilibrium levels of prices and quantities. Market participants must learn about these conditions through their participation in the market process. When the effects of learning are incorporated into analysis, less than full privatization is optimal when the costs of learning are sufficiently important.

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Paper provided by University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics in its series UWO Department of Economics Working Papers with number 9805.

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Date of creation: May 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uwo:uwowop:9805
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Reference Centre, Social Science Centre, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5C2
Phone: 519-661-2111 Ext.85244
Web page: http://economics.uwo.ca/research/research_papers/department_working_papers.html

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  1. Mathias Dewatripont & Gérard Roland, 1995. "The design of reform packages under uncertainty," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9607, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. Townsend, Robert M, 1978. "Market Anticipations, Rational Expectations, and Bayesian Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 19(2), pages 481-94, June.
  3. Peter Murrell, 1991. "Can Neoclassical Economics Underpin the Reform of Centrally Planned Economies?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 59-76, Fall.
  4. Mathias Dewatripont, 1992. "Economic Reform and Dynamic Political Constraints," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/175991, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
  6. Hare, Paul G & Hughes, Gordon & Michael, Thomas & Revesz, Tamas, 1992. "The Competitiveness of Hungarian Industry," CEPR Discussion Papers 736, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Bray, Margaret M & Savin, Nathan E, 1986. "Rational Expectations Equilibria, Learning, and Model Specification," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1129-60, September.
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