James A. Schmitz, Jr. - Senior Economist
Published June 1, 2004
A major motivation for the wave of privatizations of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the last twenty years was a belief that privatization would increase economic efficiency. There are now many studies showing most privatizations achieved this goal. Our theme is that the productivity gains from privatization are much more general and widespread than has typically been recognized in this literature. In assessing the productivity gains from privatization, the literature has only examined the productivity gains accruing at the privatized SOEs. But privatization may have significant impact on the private producers that often exist side-by-side with SOEs. In this paper we show that this was indeed the case when Brazil privatized its SOEs in the iron ore industry. That is, after their privatization, the iron ore SOEs dramatically increased their labor productivity, but so did the private iron ore companies in the industry.
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