Table of Contents

International Handbook on Privatization

International Handbook on Privatization

Elgar original reference

Edited by David Parker and David Saal

Privatization has dominated industrial restructuring programs since the 1980s and continues to do so. This authoritative and accessible Handbook considers all aspects of this key issue, including: the theory of privatization; privatization in transition, developed and developing economies; as well the economic regulation of privatized industries.

Chapter 19: All Roads Lead to Outside Ownership: Polish Piecemeal Privatization

Thomasz Mickiewicz and Maciej Baltowski

Subjects: economics and finance, industrial economics, public sector economics


Tomasz Mickiewicz and Maciej Baltowski Introduction The purpose of this chapter is to provide an economic discussion of privatization, privatization policy choices and actual results in Poland. First, it explains why the privatization of state enterprises was implemented with delay, as compared with other elements of the economic transformation programme introduced at the beginning of 1990. Next, it examines the choice of privatization methods, the political economy of privatization and the three major policy issues: namely, the pace of privatization, sequence of privatization and the authority to initiate and carry out privatization. Initially, employee buy-outs (EBOs) played a significant role in privatization programmes, yet, in the later stage, outsider privatization gained more significance. In addition, post-privatization ownership transfers resulted in a convergence of ownership structures towards those controlled by outside institutional investors. The appendix presents a detailed technical guide on privatization methods in Poland and a basic set of figures illustrating the outcome. Privatization in the political context of a reform programme Even before the first post-communist (‘Solidarity’) government was formed, the round table talks between Solidarity and the communist government, in Spring 1989, revealed the polarization between ‘liberal’ views (a relatively new trend) and ‘socialist self-governing’ views on privatization. The latter was a well established tradition within the Solidarity union. It originated in the earlier programme of limited reforms (1980–1). Apparently, the economic section of the round table talks was dominated by the adherents of employee self-government, whose aim was more to remedy the failings of...

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