Chapter

Why Do Countries Privatize?

William Leon Megginson

in The Financial Economics of Privatization

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780195150629
Published online October 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835768 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195150627.003.0002
 Why Do Countries Privatize?

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This chapter begins by framing the theoretical debate about the legitimacy and efficiency of state ownership of business enterprises, and then examines the empirical evidence for and against state ownership. Since the evidence overwhelmingly indicates that state ownership is less efficient than private ownership in most real industrial settings, the reform of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) by measures short of privatization, such as exposing state enterprises to competition or imposing hard budget constraints is assessed. While some economic reforms can be effective in their own right, the question of whether these reforms would be more effective if coupled with a shift to private ownership remains unanswered. Thus, many countries have decided to launch large-scale privatization programs. The fiscal and macroeconomic impact of these programs on the public finances of divesting countries are examined.

Keywords: privatization; state ownership; business enterprises; state-owned enterprises; SOE; competition; deregulation

Chapter.  16513 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Financial Markets

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