The Reform of Network Industries
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The Reform of Network Industries

Evaluating Privatisation, Regulation and Liberalisation in the EU

Edited by Massimo Florio

Network industries such as electricity, gas, rail, local public transport, telecommunications and postal services are recognised by the EU as crucial for fostering European social and territorial cohesion. Providing an overview of key policy reforms in these industries and an empirical evaluation, this thought-provoking book offers a critical perspective on the functioning of the networks that provide vital services to EU citizens.
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Chapter 2: Public and private enterprises, costs and welfare performance: an overview with suggestions for further research

Johan Willner and Sonja Grönblom


Public ownership is a way to provide goods and services where market performance is not satisfactory, or when the economy would otherwise be stagnant. This chapter provides a brief review of the existing theoretical and empirical literature and suggestions for further research. While far from exhaustive, our overview suggests that there is no unanimous body of research showing that the costs of public ownership overshadow its benefits. More research is needed on different forms of ownership, and we emphasise potential intrinsic motivation under private and public ownership as well as their impact on quality and on the constraints imposed by international competition. We also suggest research on renationalisation through buyer power and on the significance of governance quality.

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