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Preface

Evaluating Privatisation, Regulation and Liberalisation in the EU

Edited by Massimo Florio

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Massimo Florio

Some regulatory reforms cannot be simply described by the change of a microeconomic signal, or macroeconomic instrument, leading to a specific marginal effect on social welfare. Rather, they should be represented by packages shifting a policy framework. The aim of this chapter is to discuss the theoretical foundations of the evaluation of policy framework reforms in network industries. Some potential interpretational pitfalls are identified and some guidance on carrying out econometric analyses is provided. Since the use of categorical variables has become widespread in the empirical evaluation of such reforms, methodological issues and conceptual errors that might be introduced when building numerical proxies of reforms are discussed. Some of these issues are key for the correct assessment of reforms and hence for formulating coherent policy recommendations.

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Benton E. Gup

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Edited by Benton E. Gup

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Introduction

A Comparative Perspective

Christoph Scherrer

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Infrastructure provision

Evaluating Public–Private Partnerships and Other Procurement Options

Darrin Grimsey and Mervyn K. Lewis

This introductory chapter begins by considering the infrastructure challenge posed by what former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers calls the ‘Age of Secular Stagnation’ and International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde terms the ‘new mediocre of growth’. Both advocate increased infrastructure spending as the solution, but there are considerable differences between infrastructure policies in three of the largest economies. After decades of neglect, the United States and even Germany are saddled with once advanced, but increasingly outmoded infrastructure assets, while China keeps on building and has become an exemplar of modern urban transit, with ports, expressways, railways, subways, airports, and by far the world’s largest high-speed rail network. Nevertheless, a 2016 Oxford study challenges the efficacy of China’s infrastructure-led growth strategy. Upon examination, however, their study has serious defects and, contrary to their arguments, China’s infrastructure megaprojects appear less wasteful than those authors claim, and they have laid the foundations for Chinese growth, supported by a later case study.

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Ana Rosa Ribeiro de Mendonça and Simone Deos

The authors emphasize an overlooked raison d’être for public banks. They argue that limiting public banks to filling the gaps left by private banks, the standard argument in economics, neglects a very important dimension of public banks, that is, their capacity to act countercyclically and thereby stabilize access to credit during economic downturns. Taking a cue from Hyman Minsky, they point to the immanent volatility of financial markets dominated by private actors. In order to counter destabilizing tendencies, the presence of institutions with the logic of action that differs from that of the market is necessary. As public banks are not primarily concerned with profitability, they can play this role. To a certain extent, their presence in the market is an automatic stabilizer because public banks provide credit with long maturation. In times of crisis, they can also be used for discretionary intervention, that is, opening up new credit lines.

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Introduction

Liberalization, Integration, and Asymmetric State Power

Nina Eichacker

This chapter introduces the notion that financial liberalization in Europe may have had problematic consequences, such as increasing financial instability, paving the way for Europe’s initial experience of the global financial crisis, and for adding to the costs of European recovery since 2008. It also introduces the roles that asymmetrical power dynamics may have played in promoting broad-scale financial liberalization in Europe, as well as unequally distributing the costs and gains associated with the changed scale of financial activity within the EMU. Finally, it previews the findings of two case study chapters, examining the effects of financial liberalization in the core European economy of Germany, and two peripheral European economies, Iceland and Ireland.

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Acknowledgments

Liberalization, Integration, and Asymmetric State Power

Nina Eichacker

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Preface

Achieving Fiscal Sustainability

Edited by Naoyuki Yoshino and Peter J. Morgan