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Utility privatization and the needs of the poor in Latin America - Have we learned enough to get it right?

Author

Listed:
  • Estache, Antonio
  • Gomez-Lobo, Andres
  • Leipziger, Danny

Abstract

Efforts to reform utilities can affect poor households in varied, often complex, ways, but it is by no means certain that such reform will hurt vulnerable households. Many myths have been perpetuated in discussions of utility reform - and in many cases poor households have benefited from reform. What is amazing is the extent to which governments, and their advisors - sometimes including multilateral organizations - fail to measure, anticipate, and monitor how the privatization of utilities actually affects the poor. Many questions must still be answered before good general guidelines can be drawn, but the authors offer many suggestions about how social, regulatory, and privatization policy, can increase the benefits of utility reform for poor households. The good news is that many measures can be taken to improve the chances that poor households will benefit from reform. Chief among these is promoting competition, where possible. Essentially what is needed is political commitment to doing the right thing. If policy is weak before privatization, it is going to be weak after privatization as well. Privatization is no substitute for responsible policy on redistribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Estache, Antonio & Gomez-Lobo, Andres & Leipziger, Danny, 2000. "Utility privatization and the needs of the poor in Latin America - Have we learned enough to get it right?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2407, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2407
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gover Barja & Miguel Urquiola, 2003. "Capitalization, regulation and the poor: access to basic services in Bolivia," Chapters,in: Utility Privatization and Regulation, chapter 9 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Gabriele, Alberto, 2004. "Policy alternatives in reforming energy utilities in developing countries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(11), pages 1319-1337, July.
    3. Calderon, Cesar & Serven, Luis, 2014. "Infrastructure, growth, and inequality : an overview," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7034, The World Bank.
    4. Calderon, Cesar & Serven, Luis, 2008. "Infrastructure and economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4712, The World Bank.
    5. Daniele CHECCHI & Massimo FLORIO & Jorge CARRERA, 2004. "Privatization discontent and its determinants: evidence from Latin America," Departmental Working Papers 2004-23, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    6. Haselip, James & Dyner, Isaac & Cherni, Judith, 2005. "Electricity market reform in Argentina: assessing the impact for the poor in Buenos Aires," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 1-14, March.
    7. Haselip, James & Hilson, Gavin, 2005. "Winners and losers from industry reforms in the developing world: experiences from the electricity and mining sectors," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 87-100, June.
    8. Barja, Gover & Urquiola, Miguel, 2003. "Capitalization and Privatization in Bolivia: An Aproximation to an Evaluation," MPRA Paper 23049, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. César Calderón & Luis Servén, 2004. "The Effects of Infrastructure Development on Growth and Income Distribution," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 270, Central Bank of Chile.
    10. Parker, David & Kirkpatrick, Colin & Figueira-Theodorakopoulou, Catarina, 2008. "Infrastructure regulation and poverty reduction in developing countries: A review of the evidence and a research agenda," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 177-188, May.
    11. Kikeri, Sunita & Nellis, John, 2002. "Privatization in competitive sectors : the record to date," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2860, The World Bank.
    12. Parker, David & Kirkpatrick, Colin, 2002. "Researching Economic Regulation in Developing Countries: Developing a Methodology for Critical Analysis," Centre on Regulation and Competition (CRC) Working papers 30665, University of Manchester, Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM).
    13. Colin Kirkpatrick & David Parker, 2005. "Domestic Regulation and the WTO: The Case of Water Services in Developing Countries," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(10), pages 1491-1508, October.
    14. Kayaga, Sam & Franceys, Richard, 2007. "Costs of urban utility water connections: Excessive burden to the poor," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 270-277, December.
    15. David Parker & Colin Kirkpatrick, 2005. "Privatisation in Developing Countries: A Review of the Evidence and the Policy Lessons," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(4), pages 513-541.
    16. Nepal, R. & Jamasb, T., 2011. "Reforming Small Power Systems under Political Volatility: The Case of Nepal," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1133, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    17. David Parker & Catarina Figueira, 2010. "PPPs in Developed and Developing Economies: What Lessons can be Learned?," Chapters,in: International Handbook on Public–Private Partnerships, chapter 23 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    18. O. Leipnik & S. Kyrychenko, 2013. "The public utilities war and corruption in Ukraine," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(2), pages 159-174, June.
    19. World Bank, 2002. "India : Power Sector Reform and the Poor," World Bank Other Operational Studies 15286, The World Bank.
    20. Clive Harris, 2003. "Private Participation in Infrastructure in Developing Countries : Trends, Impacts, and Policy Lessons," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15124, November.
    21. Wamukonya, Njeri, 2003. "Power sector reform in developing countries: mismatched agendas," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(12), pages 1273-1289, September.
    22. Barja, Gover & McKenzie, David & Urquiola, Miguel, 2004. "Bolivian capitalization and privatization: Approximation to an evaluation," MPRA Paper 23878, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Oct 2005.
    23. Nepal, Rabindra & Jamasb, Tooraj, 2012. "Reforming small electricity systems under political instability: The case of Nepal," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 242-251.

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