Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello


  • Brady P. GordonEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_383


Privatization as a tool for economic management emerged in the 1970s and 1980s in response to the decline of Keynesian economics and the collapse of communism and has expanded to become a pillar of public policy in all of the world's major economies. The economic benefits of privatization emerged out of new economic theories which applied long-established principles of market failure to weaknesses in public sector economic governance. It is seen as a useful way of increasing efficiency by introducing private competition to otherwise inefficient, monopolistic, and politicized operations in the public sector. Since the late twentieth century, privatization outcomes have been increasingly recognized as context-dependent and socially contested, but privatization remains a pervasive and useful instrument of government policy in pursuit of a wide range of economic and social aims.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Trinity College, University of DublinDublinIreland