Tax Smoothing and the Cross-Country Pattern of Privatization
26 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2013
Date Written: August 31, 2005
Privatization generally enhances firm-level efficiency. The impact of privatization on fiscal efficiency has, however, been overlooked. Using the "tax-smoothing" ideas articulated in Barro (1979) and Bohn (1990), we argue that privatization may have an important impact on the welfare losses associated with tax collection. This impact can either enhance or erode the efficiency of taxation. We hypothesize that countries that benefit in terms of fiscal efficiency will privatize aggressively while countries that enjoy fiscal benefits as a result of state ownership will show little interest in privatization. Statistical tests are conducted that provide considerable support for the hypothesis.
Keywords: privatization, tax smoothing, fiscal policy
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