State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are essential tools to further policy objectives across the world. However, in the past few decades, heated debates on the performance of SOEs vis-à-vis private sector enterprises have surfaced. In India, SOEs have long played an important role in the economy and only recently have undergone the trend of privatization. The purpose of this paper is to analyze existing research and to conclude whether private enterprises perform better than SOEs.
A review of available literature on performance comparisons of public and private sector enterprises is carried out, and differences between public and private enterprises are studied. Finally, theoretical propositions on the differences in objectives of public and private enterprises in the Indian context are enumerated. Three propositions are tested using data on Indian SOEs available in the public domain.
Performance comparisons of public and private enterprises have focused merely on technical productivity or financial aspects and have thus left out the wide scope of social, economic and political objectives of SOEs. Literature on the nature of SOEs indicates that there are certain fundamental differences in the objectives of public and private sector enterprises. Further, the basic theoretical assumptions tested have been found to be, prima facie, valid in the Indian context. The paper thus establishes a case for further research to develop a comprehensive technique for the comparison of public and private sector enterprises in the Indian context.
Extant research on the subject of comparing public and private entries has limited itself to technoeconomic considerations and has not taken into account the different objectives/nature of these enterprises. The study established a case for diverging from the present discourse privatization and private sector supremacy. The same could have far-reaching consequences for policymakers, especially in developing countries.
Gupta, A. and Kumar, S. (2021), "Comparing the performance of public and private enterprises: case for a reappraisal – evidence from India", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 34 No. 1, pp. 87-100. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPSM-04-2020-0117
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