This comprehensive analysis of the British privatization program offers insights into recent policies on privatization, competition, and regulation in a country that has by far the greatest experience with this growing worldwide phenomenon. The process of selling assets and enterprises to the private sector raises theoretical questions about natural monopolies, the efficiency and equity of state owned versus privately-owned enterprises, and industrial policy. Privatization explores these questions both theoretically and empirically. After providing theoretical perspectives on the economics of ownership, competition, and regulation, the authors assess privatization policies in key industries: telecommunications, energy, transport, and water. They argue that the government's haste to transfer ownership reflects a misplaced priority, and that the main thrust of policy should be to improve industrial efficiency by stimulating competition and, providing effective regulation.
Privatization: An Economic Analysis is included in the series Regulation of Economic Activity, edited by Richard Schmalensee.