The British privatisation programme: a long term perspective
The British privatisations were concentrated on the infrastructure industries of transport, communications and energy. It is important to assess the efficiency impact in a long-term context. The Milan study goes some way towards this but even better is to compare different countries of the Western world over the whole period since 1945. A distinction is made here between 1945-73 and the 1973-95 period, which followed the oil shocks and ushered in a general phase of de-regulation and privatisation. It is suggested that factors like the reconstruction after the Second World War, the process of catch-up and convergence in technologies and the resource endowments of different countries had much bigger effects on productivity levels and growth rates in the infrastructure industries than the shift from nationalised to privatised regimes. This article also, more briefly, critically evaluates two other elements of the Milan study, the treatment of excess profits and of the move to more differentiated price structures.
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