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UPP — Result In Brief

Project ID: 28647
Funded under: FP6-CITIZENS
Country: Italy

Privatisation and its effects on the public

Privatisation plays a major role in both developed and developing economies and affects large segments of the society in which it is practised. Against this backdrop, a team of researchers worked to highlight the various factors at play in successes and failures, as well as the effects on welfare.
Privatisation and its effects on the public
The 'Understanding privatisation policy: Political economy and welfare effects' (UPP) project focused on various issues in the area of privatisation that warrant systematic analysis and intensive research. These include methods, determinants, and economic and social implications. The EU-funded project contributed in this way to lessening the 'disconnect' between academic consensus and public perception of privatisation, especially in the case of transition economies and in poorer world regions. This constitutes an important initiative given the relevance of privatisation policy in Europe and in markets offering services of general interest (SGI). Analysing the past, and impressive, record of privatisation drives at providing a better understanding of the causes behind failures, and can help to improve the process in the future.

Project partners worked on the premise that privatisation is a political decision that governments take at national/sub-national level with major impact on the welfare of many. The perception of the effects of privatisation on welfare by different social groups is key to setting the political sustainability of reform programmes. Their efforts thus resulted in an overview of factors relevant to the state-owned enterprise (SOE) sector reform process.

Dissemination of the project's results, a key objective, was achieved through working papers, workshops and conferences, and continues to be achieved through the web-based facility the Privatization Barometer (PB). The section dedicated to UPP targets a wide audience and offers easy access to information on the project. This instrument offers an independent source for policy analysis of privatisation and related issues. Strongly based on objective research and the first comprehensive Internet portal focusing on privatisation in the EU, PB enabled widespread exposure of UPP's results to the international community and afforded substantial network effects.

A dedicated UPP intranet section was established to provide scientific content, all project findings and intermediate scientific outputs and links to the partner institutions. Project activities also included the distribution of an electronic newsletter to academics, policymakers and the general public.

UPP results have the potential to strengthen efforts aimed at evaluating privatisation policy effects and getting the process to deliver the most desirable outcomes.

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