Winners and losers from industry reforms in the developing world: experiences from the electricity and mining sectors
Haselip, J. and Hilson, G. (2005) Winners and losers from industry reforms in the developing world: experiences from the electricity and mining sectors. Resources Policy, 30 (2). pp. 87-100. ISSN 0301-4207
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.resourpol.2004.10.001
The reform of previously state-owned and operated industries in many Less Developed Countries (LDCs) provide contrary experiences to those in the developed world, which have generally had more equitable distributional impacts. The economic reform policies proposed by the so-called 'Washington Consensus' state that privatisation provides governments with opportunities to raise revenues through the sale of under-performing and indebted state industries, thereby reducing significant fiscal burdens, and, at the same time, facilitating influxes of foreign capital, skills and technology, with the aim of improving operations and a "trickle-down" of benefits. However, experiences in many LDCs over the last 15-20 years suggest that reform has not solved the problem of chronic public-sector debt, and that poverty and socio-economic inequalities have increased during this period of 'neo-liberal' economics. This paper does not seek to challenge the policies themselves, but rather argues that the context in which reform has often taken place is of fundamental significance. The industry-centric policy advice provided by the IFIs typically causes a 'lock-in' of inequitably distributed 'efficiency gains', providing minimal, if any, benefits to impoverished groups. These arguments are made using case study analysis from the electricity and mining sectors.