Privatization in Developing Countries: What Are the Lessons of Recent Experience?

Estrin, Saul and Pelletier, Adeline. 2018. Privatization in Developing Countries: What Are the Lessons of Recent Experience? The World Bank Research Observer, 33(1), pp. 65-102. ISSN 0257-3032 [Article]

WBRO final_25-10-17se.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (490kB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

This paper reviews the recent empirical evidence on privatization in developing countries, with particular emphasis on new areas of research such as the distributional impacts of privatization. Overall, the literature now reflects a more cautious and nuanced evaluation of privatization. Thus, private ownership alone is no longer argued to automatically generate economic gains in developing economies; pre-conditions (especially the regulatory infrastructure) and an appropriate process of privatization are important for attaining a positive impact. These comprise a list which is often challenging in developing countries: well-designed and sequenced reforms; the implementation of complementary policies; the creation of regulatory capacity; attention to poverty and social impacts; and strong public communication. Even so, the studies do identify the scope for efficiency-enhancing privatization that also promotes equity in developing countries.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):

Additional Information:

This work was supported by the U.K. Department for International Development and the Overseas Development Institute.


privatisation, developing countries, economy, management, ownership, goods, services

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute of Management Studies


1 February 2018Accepted
22 March 2018Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

09 Apr 2018 12:18

Last Modified:

09 Jun 2021 18:41

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)