When to Privatize? When to Nationalize? A Competition for Ownership Approach
Sciences Po Paris
Sciences Po Paris
December 15, 2008
Theories of privatization or nationalization typically compare the economic or political efficiency of private and state ownership, either in general, or for a list of specific goods and services. They aim at defining, once and for all, what an optimal allocation of ownership should be, i.e. the desirable scope of government in production. They do not explain changes in state and private ownership boundaries, nor their timing. Accordingly, they can hardly account for the two great reversals that shaped the past century, the post-WWII nationalizations being followed since the 1980s by a privatization wave. While the privatization movement has dramatically slowed down recently, even reverting again to nationalization in the wake of the current crisis, the fluctuating allocation of property rights over firms between private investors and the state still awaits for an explanation.
We model a competitive bidding for these rights in which the private investors value shareholders wealth, and the state values political survival, obtained through the transfer of the firm cash flow to various political clienteles. The investors who value the firm most get the rights of control, a privatization or a nationalization, according to which type of investor has the lowest cost of funds. Recent data on 15 years of privatization in 8 countries lend support to our theory.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 22
Keywords: Privatization, Nationalization, Cost of Funds, Competition, Ownership
JEL Classification: H10, D20, G32working papers series
Date posted: March 27, 2009
© 2013 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This page was processed by apollo6 in 0.515 seconds