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Understanding Privatisation Policy: Political Economy and Welfare Effects


Privatisation is one of the main events of the economic history of the last decades. The privatisation record to date is impressive, both in developed and developing economies. Despite the relevance of the process and the extensive research recently carried out, several aspects of privatisation such as its determinants, methods, and economic and social implications warrant a systematic analysis and research efforts. Given the relevance of privatisation policy in the European context and in the markets for the services of general interest (SGI), it is imperative to analyse the record of privatisation and understand the causes behind failures in order to improve the process in the future.

The project's main objectives are:
- To study the political and institutional incentives and constraints affecting privatisation;
- To analyse the interactions between private and public ownership and control of firms;
- To evaluate the welfare effect of privatisation policies on consumers, taxpayers and shareholders;
- To identify the most appropriate policies to make privatisation deliver the most desirable outcomes.

To address these objectives, the Project will use the tools of political economy and welfare analysis, starting from the premises that privatisation is a political decision taken by governments at national/sub-national level and it has important consequences on the welfare of several stakeholders in the economy (consumers, taxpayers, employees, and shareholders). The welfare effects of privatisation as perceived by different social groups are key element to establish the political sustainability of reform programmes, or the long-term reversal to public provision.

The Project will adopt a multidisciplinary approach, mobilising researchers from economics, finance, political science, and judicial disciplines working in five universities and three research institutions of five European countries, including a new accession country.

Call for proposal

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EU contribution
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Corso Magenta, n. 63

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Participants (7)