One of the most enduring legacies of the 1980s has been the programme of privatizations that the Thatcher government set in train in the first half of the decade. Whole sectors of the UK economy which were formerly part of the public sector were sold off to the private sector. Some were bought out by their employees; others were bought by the public at large. Some public services were contracted out to the private sector; others were placed on a more commercial footing. The UK privatization programme had an influence on economic policy throughout the world. Privatization programmes were initiated in Asia, South America, and Africa, as well as Europe and North America. The most recent to experiment with privatizations have been
the East European countries which have seen privatization as the fastest route to move from socialism to capitalism. The purpose of this book is to stand back and examine what has been learnt from the extensive programme of privatization that the UK government has completed, and to consider what aspects of privatization remain to be done. This book attempts to evaluate different sectors of the UK economy over the past 10 years. It examines what has happened and why, where have been the successes and failures, what lessons can be learnt for the design of privatization programmes elsewhere and what can the UK government still can do usefully in this area.
Readership: Economics: third year
undergraduates. Business: MBA course covering government policy. Courses on industry and competition, privatization, and corporate reorganization.
Edited by Matthew Bishop, journalist on The Economist, John Kay, Chairman of London Economics, and Professor, London Business School, and Colin Mayer, Deputy Director, School of Management Studies, University of Oxford
"`This book is essential reading for anyone holding shares, or having anything to do with a privatized industry; it also provides, in fast-flowing prose, invaluable lessons - some gained through painful experience - to the proponents of privatization in countries such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Russia on the successes and failures of Britain's experiments.'
Business East Midlands"
"`Excellent text on very important area for any Applied Economics course.'
Mr L.J. Bussell, University of Teeside"
"`This book provides a good overview of the key issues facing the newly privatized companies. Should be extremely useful to the students.'
Dr Tom McGovern, University of Newcastle"
"Like most anthologies, this compilation of intelligently written articles offers the reader an opportunity to sample and taste." - Choice
"There is sufficient focus on the theoretical, empirical and sector-specific issues involved to make it required reading for students, policy makers and practitioners in this increasingly contentious field ... The real strength of the book lies in its breadth ... a clearly written economic survey of privatisation from both a theoretical and empirical perspective. It will be particularly useful for the insights it provides on the operational characteristics, cost structures and demand conditions of the industries concerned and the way these have shaped privatization and subsequent performance. It is a valuable addition to the literature." - Times Higher Education Supplement
"This is a welcome addition to the expanding literature evaluating the UK's programme of privatisation and consequent regulation ... The authors display a variety of approaches, styles, aims, and views." - The Economic Journal