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Börner, Kira (January 2004): The Political Economy of Privatization. Why Do Governments Want Reforms? Discussion Papers in Economics 2004-1




International organizations promote privatization as precondition for economic development. But is there really too little privatization? This political economy model asks for the incentives of governments to privatize or restructure a state-owned firm. Different government types are compared to identify the political and institutional determinants of privatization. Under privatization, governments commit not to influence the profit-maximizing employment choice by private investors. With respect to the social optimum, both voter-oriented and egoistic governments can have inefficiently high incentives to privatize. When this is the case, outside pressure to privatize is detrimental. An improving institutional environment reduces these inefficiencies.