Conceptual issues in assessing the welfare impact of the British privatisation programme
Assessing the welfare impact of a policy on the scale of the British privatisation programme is a daunting task. Four sets of issues raised in the impressive study by Florio et al of the British privatisation programme merit further discussion. One such set of issues relates to the different dimensions of underpricing in the privatisation programme. A second set relates to the welfare impact of one particular aspect of the privatisation programme: the sale of housing by local authorities. A third set of issues relates to taxation. It is argued here that there is evidence to suggest important interactions between the privatisation programme and tax policy over the period, with implications for the ultimate welfare impact of privatisation. A final set of issues relates to the role of the privatisation programme in redefining the broader debate over the delivery of public services and, in particular, the appropriate role of asset ownership
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