CREAP2006-03: Factors explaining local privatization: A meta-regression analysis

Privatization of local public services has been implemented worldwide in the last decades. Why local governments privatize has been the subject of much discussion, and many empirical works have been devoted to analyzing the factors that explain local privatization. Such works have found a great diversity of motivations, and the variation among reported empirical results is large. To investigate this diversity we undertake a meta-regression analysis of the factors explaining the decision to privatize local services. Overall, our results indicate that significant relationships are very dependent upon the characteristics of the studies. Indeed, fiscal stress and political considerations have been found to contribute to local privatization specially in the studies of US cases published in the eighties that consider a broad range of services. Studies that focus on one service capture more accurately the influence of scale economies on privatization. Finally, governments of small towns are more affected by fiscal stress, political considerations and economic efficiency, while ideology seems to play a major role for large cities.

Germà Bel (GPRE-IREA); Xavier Fageda (GPRE-IREA)