Review of Industrial Organization

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 393–422 | Cite as

Corporatization and the Behavior of Public Firms: How Shifting Control Rights Affects Political Interference in Water Prices

  • Michael KlienEmail author


As an alternative to privatization, corporatization implies shifting control rights from politicians to managers—through the creation of a separate legal entity—while ownership remains with the government. Even though corporatized firms are fairly common, little empirical work has tried to quantify the effects of corporatizations. This paper tries to fill this gap by analyzing the effect of corporatization on the price-setting behavior of public firms. The theoretical prediction that corporatization decreases political interference in price setting is tested using a dataset of Austrian water providers. The empirical evidence largely corroborates this hypothesis. Specifically, the results show that the impact of electoral cycles and intense political competition on price setting is significantly restrained in corporatized firms.


Corporatization Control rights Political interference 

JEL Classification

D22 D72 L33 



The author is grateful to Eshien Chong, Markus Leibrecht, Gabriel Obermann, and seminar participants at Chaire EPPP and ISNIE 2011, as well as two anonymous referees and the editor for helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IAE-Sorbonne Business SchoolParis Cedex 05France

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