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Privatization in competitive sectors : the record to date

  • Kikeri, Sunita
  • Nellis, John
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    The paper reviews recent evidence on the impact of privatization. It focuses on traditional privatization efforts involving firms in competitive markets. It shows that privatization improves firms'financial and operating performance, yields positive fiscal and macroeconomic benefits (proceeds are saved rather than spent, transfers decline, and governments start collecting taxes from privatized firms), and improves overall welfare. The popular view that privatization always leads to layoffs is unfounded. While highly protected firms have seen significant declines in net employment, competitive firms generally experienced slight declines if any. Privatization's effects on wealth and income distribution have only recently been receiving the attention of analysts, and research is just getting underway. The paper highlights the conditions for successful privatization: strong political commitment combined with wider public understanding of and support for the process; creation of competitive markets through removal of entry and exit barriers, financial sector reforms that create commercially oriented banking systems, effective regulatory frameworks that reinforce the benefits of private ownership; transparency in the privatization process; and measures to mitigate adverse social and environmental effects.

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    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2860.

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    Date of creation: 30 Jun 2002
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2860
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    1. Barberis, Nicholas & Maxim Boycko & Andrei Shleifer & Natalia Tsukanova, 1996. "How Does Privatization Work? Evidence from the Russian Shops," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(4), pages 764-90, August.
    2. Majumdar, Sumit K, 1998. " Assessing Comparative Efficiency of the State-Owned Mixed and Private Sectors in Indian Industry," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 96(1-2), pages 1-24, July.
    3. repec:oup:qjecon:v:109:y:1994:i:1:p:183-209 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Chisari, Omar & Estache, Antonio & Romero, Carlos, 1997. "Winners and losers from utility privatization in Argentina : lessons from a general equilibrium model," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1824, The World Bank.
    5. Shirley, Mary & Walsh, Patrick, 2000. "Public versus private ownership : the current state of the debate," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2420, The World Bank.
    6. 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.
    7. John Earle & Saul Estrin, 2003. "Privatization, Competition, and Budget Constraints: Disciplining Enterprises in Russia," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 1-22, March.
    8. Josef C. Brada, 1996. "Privatization Is Transition--Or Is It?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 67-86, Spring.
    9. Shirley, Mary M & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2001. "Empirical Effects of Performance Contracts: Evidence from China," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(1), pages 168-200, April.
    10. Rama, Martin, 1999. "Public Sector Downsizing: An Introduction," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(1), pages 1-22, January.
    11. Paul J. Siegelbaum & Khaled Sherif & Michael Borish & George Clarke, 2002. "Structural Adjustment in the Transition : Case Studies from Albania, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyz Republic, and Moldova," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14052.
    12. Boardman, Anthony E & Vining, Aidan R, 1989. "Ownership and Performance in Competitive Environments: A Comparison of the Performance of Private, Mixed, and State-Owned Enterprises," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 1-33, April.
    13. Smith, Stephen C. & Cin, Beom-Cheol & Vodopivec, Milan, 1997. "Privatization Incidence, Ownership Forms, and Firm Performance: Evidence from Slovenia," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 158-179, October.
    14. Lizal, Lubomir & Singer, Miroslav & Svejnar, Jan, 1997. "Enterprise Break-ups and Performance During the Transition," CEPR Discussion Papers 1757, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. Vining, Aidan R & Boardman, Anthony E, 1992. " Ownership versus Competition: Efficiency in Public Enterprise," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 73(2), pages 205-39, March.
    16. Newbery, David M & Pollitt, Michael G, 1997. "The Restructuring and Privatization of Britain's CEGB--Was It Worth It?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(3), pages 269-303, September.
    17. Hua Wang & Wheeler, David, 2000. "Endogenous enforcement and effectiveness of China's pollution levy system," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2336, The World Bank.
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