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Privatization : trends and recent developments


  • Kikeri, Sunita
  • Kolo, Aishetu


This paper takes stock of recent privatization trends, examines the extent to which government ownership is still prevalent in developing countries, and summarizes emerging issues for state enterprise reform going forward. Between 1990 and 2003, 120 developing countries carried out nearly 8,000 privatization transactions and raised $410 billion in privatization revenues. Privatization activity peaked in 1997 and dropped off in the late 1990s and, while still at overall low levels, is slowly creeping back. While there are a large number of studies assessing the impact of privatization on enterprise performance and overall welfare, there are no systematic data on the extent to which privatization has changed the role of state enterprises in the economy. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the state's role has been substantially reduced in Eastern and Central Europe and in certain countries in Latin America. But available evidence also suggests that, despite a long track record of privatization, government ownership in state enterprises is still widely prevalent in some regions and countries, and in certain sectors in virtually all regions.The paper shows that the costs of not reforming state enterprises are high and that continued efforts need to be made to improve their performance by improving privatization policies and institutions; adopting more of a case-by-case approach for complex sectors and countries; and exposing state enterprises to market discipline through new private entry and exit of unviable firms and improvements in their corporate governance.

Suggested Citation

  • Kikeri, Sunita & Kolo, Aishetu, 2005. "Privatization : trends and recent developments," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3765, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3765

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Antonio Estache, 2006. "PPI Partnerships vs. PPI Divorces in LDCs," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 29(1), pages 3-26, September.
    2. Briceno-Garmendia, Cecilia & Estache, Antonio & Shafik, Nemat, 2004. "Infrastructure services in developing countries : access, quality, costs and policy reform," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3468, The World Bank.
    3. Beck, Thorsten & Cull, Robert & Jerome, Afeikhena, 2005. "Bank privatization and performance: Empirical evidence from Nigeria," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(8-9), pages 2355-2379, August.
    4. Michael Andrews, 2005. "State-Owned Banks, Stability, Privatization, and Growth; Practical Policy Decisions in a World Without Empirical Proof," IMF Working Papers 05/10, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Sunita Kikeri, 2004. "An Assessment of Privatization," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 19(1), pages 87-118.
    6. John Nellis, 2003. "Privatization in Latin America," Working Papers 31, Center for Global Development.
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    Cited by:

    1. Campos, Nauro F & Kinoshita, Yuko, 2008. "Foreign Direct Investment and Structural Reforms: Evidence from Eastern Europe and Latin America," IZA Discussion Papers 3332, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Blanc, Aymeric, 2009. "Capture and corruption in public utilities: The cases of water and electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 203-216, June.
    3. Qi Quan & Nancy Huyghebaert, 2005. "Share Issuing Privatizations in China: Determinants of Public Share Allocation and Underpricing," LICOS Discussion Papers 16205, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    4. Campos, Nauro F & De Grauwe, Paul & Ji, Yuemei, 2017. "Structural Reforms, Growth and Inequality: An Overview of Theory, Measurement and Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 11159, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Samuel Adams & Berhanu Mengistu, 2008. "The Political Economy of Privatization in Sub-Saharan Africa," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 89(1), pages 78-94.
    6. Ramona Jimborean & Anna Kelber, 2017. "Foreign Direct Investment Drivers and Growth in Central and Eastern Europe in the Aftermath of the 2007 Global Financial Crisis," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 59(1), pages 23-54, March.
    7. Ouda, Omar K.M. & Al-Waked, Rafat F. & Alshehri, Abdulrahman A., 2014. "Privatization of water-supply services in Saudi Arabia: A unique experience," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 107-113.
    8. Dean Neu & Jeff Everett & Abu Shiraz Rahaman, 2009. "Accounting assemblages, desire, and the body without organs: A case study of international development lending in Latin America," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 22(3), pages 319-350, March.
    9. Nauro F. Campos & Paul De Grauwe & Yuemei Ji, 2017. "Structural Reforms, Growth and Inequality: An Overview of Theory, Measurement and Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 6812, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Kosovka Ognjenović, 2011. "Wage Differences between the Private and the Public Sector in Serbia: Some Evidence from Survey Data," wiiw Balkan Observatory Working Papers 91, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    11. Mukherjee, Arijit & Suetrong, Kullapat, 2009. "Privatization, strategic foreign direct investment and host-country welfare," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 775-785, October.

    More about this item


    Banks&Banking Reform; Privatization; Municipal Financial Management; State Owned Enterprise Reform; Private Participation in Infrastructure;

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