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