Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
Arghya Ghosh, University of New South Wales - Australian School of Business - School of Economics Manipushpak Mitra, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata and Bibhas Saha, University of East Anglia (UEA) - School of Economic and Social Studies address Privatization, Underpricing and Welfare in the Presence of Foreign Competition.
ABSTRACT: We analyze privatization in a differentiated oligopoly setting with a domestic public firm and foreign profit-maximizing firms. In particular, we examine pricing below marginal cost by public firm, the optimal degree of privatization and, the relationship between privatization and foreign ownership restrictions. When market structure is exogenous, partial privatization of the public firm improves welfare by reducing public sector losses. Surprisingly, even at the optimal level of privatization, the public firm's price lies strictly below marginal cost, resulting in losses. Our analysis also reveals a potential conflict between privatization and investment liberalization (i.e., relaxing restrictions on foreign ownership) in the short run. With endogenous market structure (i.e., free entry of foreign firms), partial privatization improves welfare through an additional channel: more foreign varieties. Furthermore, at the optimal level of privatization, the public firm's price lies strictly above marginal cost and it earns positive profits.