Industry and Policy II: Privatisation

  • Peter Curwen
  • Keith Hartley
Part of the Macmillan Texts in Economics book series (TE)


Privatisation is a policy which embraces debates about the importance of ownership as a determinant of enterprise performance. Questions also arise as to who gains and who loses from the policy. In theory, consumers are supposed to benefit, but other possible beneficiaries include top managers, shareholders and the financial institutions advising on privatisation policy. The pay of top managers in the privatised utilities has been a source of criticism (Curwen, 1994a) raising questions about the effectiveness of shareholders in exercising control over their companies. Further concern has been expressed about the extent of competition in the privatised utilities sector (including mergers) and the effectiveness of the regulatory arrangements. Proposals have been tabled for a tougher regulatory regime to operate more in the interests of consumers and, especially by the Labour Party, for a ‘windfall tax’ on the profits of the privatised utilities.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Beesley, M. (Ed.) (1996) Regulating Utilities: A Time for Change? (London: IEA).Google Scholar
  2. Bishop, M. and J. Kay (1988) Does Privatization Work? (London Business School).Google Scholar
  3. Carnaghan, R. and B. Bracewell-Milnes (1993) Testing the Market: Competitive Tendering for Government Services in Britain and Abroad. Research Monograph 49 (London: IEA).Google Scholar
  4. Chancellor of the Exchequer (1996) Public Expenditure: Statistical Analyses 1996–97, Cm 3201 (London: HMSO).Google Scholar
  5. Curwen, P. (1986) Public Enterprise (Brighton: Wheatsheaf).Google Scholar
  6. Curwen, P. (1994a) ‘Directors’ Pay in Privatized Companies’, Public Money and Management, 14 (1).Google Scholar
  7. Curwen, P. (1994b) Privatization in the UK — The Facts and Figures (London: Ernst & Young).Google Scholar
  8. Domberger, S. et al. (1996) ‘The Determinants of Price and Quality in Competitively-Tendered Contracts’, Economic Journal, 105 (433) pp. 1454–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dunsire, A. (1990) ‘The Public/Private Debate: Some United Kingdom Evidence’, International Review of Administrative Sciences, 56 (1) pp.63–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dunsire, A., K. Hartley, D. Parker and B. Dimitriou (1988) ‘Organizational Status and Performance’, Public Administration (Winter) pp. 343–58.Google Scholar
  11. Foster, C. (1993) Privatisation, Public Ownership and the Regulation of Natural Monopoly (Oxford: Blackwell).Google Scholar
  12. Graham, C. and T. Prosser (1991) Privatising Public Enterprises: Constitutions, the State and Regulation in Comparative Perspective (Oxford: OUP).Google Scholar
  13. Hartley, K. and M. Huby (1985) ‘Contracting-out in Health and Local Authorities’, Public Money (September) pp. 23–6.Google Scholar
  14. Hartley, K., D. Parker and S. Martin (1991) ‘Organisational Status, Ownership and Productivity’, Fiscal Studies, 12 (2) pp. 46–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Holmes, D. and P. Curwen (1995) ‘Returns to Small Shareholders from Privatization — Reprise’, The Review of Policy Issues, 1 (3) pp. 53–60.Google Scholar
  16. Marsh, D. (1991) ‘Privatisation Under Mrs Thatcher. A Review of the Literature’, Public Administration, 69 (4) pp. 459–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Parker, D. (1990) ‘The 1988 Local Government Act and Compulsory Competitive Tendering’, Urban Studies, 27 (5) pp. 653–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Parker, D. (1991) ‘Privatisation Ten Years On: A Critical Analysis of its Rationale and Results’, Economics, xxvii (4) pp. 155–63.Google Scholar
  19. Parker, D. (1994) ‘Privatisation and Business Restructuring: Change and Continuity in the Privatised Industries’, The Review of Policy Issues, 1 (2) pp. 3–28.Google Scholar
  20. Parker, D. (1995) ‘The Impact of UK Privatisation on Labour and total Factor Productivity’, Scottish Journal of Political Economy, 42 (2) pp. 201–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Parker, D. and K. Hartley (1990) ‘Competitive Tendering: Issues and Evidence’, Public Money and Management (Autumn) pp. 9–16.Google Scholar
  22. Parker, D. and K. Hartley (1991) ‘Organisational Status and Performance: the Effects on Employment’, Applied Economics, 23 (2) pp.403–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Prosser, T. (1986) Nationalised Industries and Public Control: Legal, Constitutional and Political Issues (Oxford: Blackwell).Google Scholar
  24. Szymanski, S. and S. Wilkins (1993) ‘Cheap Rubbish? Competitive Tendering and Contracting-Out in Refuse Collection — 1981–1988’, Fiscal Studies, 14 (3) pp. 109–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Thompson, S., M. Wright and K. Robbie (1990) ‘Management Buy-Outs From the Public Sector: Ownership Form and Incentive Issues’, Fiscal Studies, 11 (3) pp. 71–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Uttley, M. and N. Hooper (1992) ‘The Political Economy of Competitive Tendering’, in T. Clarke and C. Pitelis (eds) The Political Economy of Privatization (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
  27. Vickers, J. (1991) ‘Government Regulatory Policy’, Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 7 (3) pp. 39–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Vickers, J. and G. Yarrow (1988) Privatisation: An Economic Analysis (Boston: MIT Press).Google Scholar
  29. Walsh, K. (1995) Public Services and Market Mechanisms (London: Macmillan Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wright, M. and T. Buck (1992) ‘Privatisation Under Mrs Thatcher: An Extension to the Debate’, Public Administration, 70 (2) pp. 287–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. The Citizen’s Charter: The Facts and Figures. Cm 2970, September 1995 (London: HMSO).Google Scholar
  32. Next Steps: Agencies in Government — Review 1995. Cm 3164, February 1996 (London: HMSO).Google Scholar
  33. Public Expenditure. Statistical Supplement to the Financial Statement and Budget Report 1995 – 96. Cm 2821, February 1995 (London: HMSO).Google Scholar
  34. The Government’s Guide to Market Testing. August 1993 (London: HMSO)Google Scholar
  35. The Strategic Management of Agencies — Full Report of Case Studies. September 1995 (London: HMSO).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Peter Curwen and Keith Hartley 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Curwen
  • Keith Hartley

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations