Winners and Losers

Assessing the distributional impact of privatization

Nancy Birdsall, John Nellis

Paper  466kb pdf

While most technical assessments classify privatization as a success, it remains widely and increasingly unpopular, largely because of the perception that it is fundamentally unfair, both in conception and execution. We review the increasing (but still uneven) literature and conclude that most privatization programs appear to have worsened the distribution of assets and income, at least in the short run. This is more evident in transition economies than in Latin America, and less clear for utilities such as electricity and telecommunications, where the poor have tended to benefit from much greater access, than for banks, oil companies, and other natural resource producers.

About the Authors

Nancy Birdsall
Center for Global Development

John Nellis
Senior Fellow
Center for Global Development

Publication Information

Type Network Paper
Program Privatization
Posted 05/01/02
Download 466kb pdf
# Pages 61