Testing Limits to Policy Reversal: Evidence from Indian Privatizations
47 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2007 Last revised: 10 Sep 2010
Date Written: September 2007
We examine the effect of regime change on privatization using the 2004 election surprise in India. The pro-reform BJP was unexpectedly defeated by a less reformist coalition. Stock prices of government-controlled companies that had been slated for definite privatization by the BJP dropped by 3.5 percent relative to private firms. Surprisingly, government-controlled companies that were only under study for possible privatization fell by 7.5 percent relative to private firms. We interpret this as evidence of investor belief of policy irreversibility, where reforms may reach a stage beyond which future regimes have difficulty reversing those policies. Further analysis suggests that layoffs, combined with the privatization announcement, served as a credible commitment to the government's privatization agenda.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation