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International Handbook on Privatization

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.
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Chapter 20: Privatization in Hungary and its Aftermath

Iván Major


Iván Major Introduction: analytical framework1 After 13 years of political and economic transformation in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) the time has come to assess the main results and possible shortcomings of the changes. This chapter sums up the history of Hungarian privatization at the company level and the ensuing restructuring of the Hungarian economy at the macroeconomic level. The political aspects of the transformation are deliberately avoided, in spite of their potential importance. The focus is on the issue of whether Hungarian privatization – its scope, speed and actual methods – resulted in efficient companies and in a healthy economy. These aims were set out at the beginning of the transition. There have been numerous other goals of the privatization policy than those mentioned, but the analysis will be kept within this narrower framework, for even these issues are more complex than what could be exhaustively addressed in a brief study. The structure of the chapter is as follows: initially, a brief overview of the history of Hungarian privatization is provided, followed by a discussion of its initial conditions, targets and methods. The main results of the privatization policy are then considered. The main findings of the core analysis of this study are provided, along with a follow-up analysis of the economic performance of the Hungarian companies with different ownership structures to that in Major (1999). A brief history of privatization in Hungary How it all began Hungary arrived at its political and economic transformation in 1989 with...

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