The Financial Economics of Privatization

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The Financial Economics of Privatization

By William L. Megginson
Oxford University Press, 2005
544 pp. $99.50
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Privatization -- the sale of government-owned production activities -- has been one of the prominent features of the world economy over the past two decades: governments have raised over $1.5 trillion through such sales. Privatization has also greatly enlarged equity markets and increased the percentage of the public that owns shares, thus fostering the development of an equity-owning culture and the liquidity of equity markets. It has also generally, but not universally, improved the efficiency of the privatized enterprises and the quality of the service provided. This scholarly and data-rich book covers both the diverse motivations and the diverse consequences of privatization around the world since 1979. Five sectors receive special attention: telecommunications, banking, oil and gas, electricity generation and distribution, and airlines. In any field that constantly produces new material, empirical work needs continual updating, but this richly synthetic work will become a standard reference for some time to come.