The Benefits of Privatization: Evidence from Mexico

50 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2000 Last revised: 30 Jun 2010

See all articles by Rafael La Porta

Rafael La Porta

Dartmouth College - Tuck School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Florencio Lopez de Silanes

SKEMA Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 1997

Abstract

Criticisms of privatization have centered around the possibility that the observed higher profitability of privatized companies comes at the expense of the rest of society. In this paper we focus on two of the most likely channels for social losses: (1) increased prices as firms capitalize on the market power; and (2) layoffs and lower wages as firms seek to roll back generous labor contracts. Using data for all 218 non-financial privatizations that took place in Mexico between 1983 and 1991 we find that privatized firms quickly bridge the pre-privatization performance gap with industry-matched control groups. For example, privatization is followed by a 24 percentage point increase in the ratio of operating income to sales. We roughly decompose those gains in profitability as follows: 10 percent of the increase is due to higher product prices; 33 percent of the increase represents a transfer from laid-off workers; and productivity gains account for the residual 57 percent. Transfers from society to the firm are partially offset by taxes which absorb slightly over half the gains in operating income. Finally, we also find evidence indicating that deregulation is associated with faster convergence to industry benchmarks.

Suggested Citation

La Porta, Rafael and Lopez de Silanes, Florencio, The Benefits of Privatization: Evidence from Mexico (October 1997). NBER Working Paper No. w6215. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=225973

Rafael La Porta (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College - Tuck School of Business ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Florencio Lopez de Silanes

SKEMA Business School ( email )

Avenue Willy Brandt, Euralille
Lille, 59777
France

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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