Privatization in Austria: Some Theoretical Reasons and Performance Measures
The trend toward privatization, which began with privatization experiments in the UK under Margaret Thatcher and the deregulation of the telecommunications sector in the United States, has attracted the attention of policymakers over the past two decades. Privatization is broadly supported by most academic economists, but the results of actual privatization efforts seem mixed. In the UK, for example, telecom rates fell sharply after privatization, but privatized rail service was widely perceived to have declined dramatically in quality. In this CESifo volume, international experts examine the experiences of 10 EU countries, evaluating the real outcomes of privatization policies in Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK. The effects of privatization--which includes not only changes in ownership of public activitiesand entities but also liberalization of markets and deregulation--are difficult to distinguish from the effects of other economywide influences. The studies in this volume meet this methodological challenge by using a well-defined set of criteria, including reducing consumer prices, increasing quantity, and improving quality, by which to make their assessments. Background chapters provide a conceptual framework for considering the issues.
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