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A meta-analysis of the impact of privatization on firm performance

Patricia Bachiller (Faculty of Economics, Universidad Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 13 February 2017

Issue publication date: 13 February 2017




Despite the vast literature on privatization, the relationship between change of ownership and performance is not clear. The purpose of this paper is to understand why divergences are found between the empirical results of papers analyzed.


The author applies a meta-analysis to a sample of 60 empirical studies that analyze the performance of privatized companies. The author checks whether different results on performance can be explained by the method of privatization and the level of development of the country of privatized companies.


The findings indicate that companies privatized by public offerings obtain a better performance than companies privatized using other methods, such as private sale or voucher privatization, and do not support the common-place assumption that privatization in developing countries does not improve financial performance.


The study contributes to the literature on privatization because it adds new empirical evidence about the privatization programs and it first applies a meta-analysis to a sample about privatization on state-owned companies. The author discusses theoretical and managerial implications and offers suggestions for future research on privatization.



The author would like to thank editor and anonymous referees for their comments on an earlier draft of this paper. This study has been carried out with the financial support of the Spanish National R+D Plan through the research project ECO2015-66240-P (MINECO/FEDER), the Regional Government of Aragón and the European Social Fund through Research Project S05 and the University of Zaragoza through Research Project UZ2014-SOC-05.


Bachiller, P. (2017), "A meta-analysis of the impact of privatization on firm performance", Management Decision, Vol. 55 No. 1, pp. 178-202.



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