This study examines the impact of timing of the game on the welfare gains of privatisation in the presence of strategic trade policy. We argue that only if the public enterprise acts as a Cournot player will it generate an additional distortion that could outweigh the distortion caused by the oligopolistic behaviour of private firms. But with a first-mover advantage it can serve as an effective regulatory device comparable with a production subsidy. We further show that, in the presence of strategic trade policy, Cournot assumptions are inconsistent with the firms' preferences over the timing of the game. As public Stackelberg leadership is a subgame Nash equilibrium of the extended game with endogenous order of moves, we conclude that it is the timing of the game rather than firms' ownership structure which is responsible for the inefficiency of an international mixed market found by earlier studies. Copyright 2007 The AuthorsJournal compilation 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/ University of Adelaide and Flinders University .
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