What is the Cost of Privatization for Workers?

Martin Olsson, Joacim Tåg

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


The privatization of state-owned enterprises is on the agenda across the globe. Using Swedish data covering two decades, we show that productivity gains and headcount reductions are coupled with economic costs for incumbent workers. Workers experience income losses and higher unemployment, but half of the losses are covered by the social safety net. We also find small positive effects on entrepreneurship and cash holdings but no meaningful effects on other labor market, family, health, or household finance outcomes. Productivity improves when the CEO is replaced, and the gains outweigh workers' income declines by a factor of between two and six.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationStockholm
PublisherIFN - Research Institute of Industrial Economics
Number of pages75
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

Publication series

NameIFN Working Paper


  • 511 Economics
  • Private Equity Buyouts
  • Restructuring
  • Wages
  • Employment Health Job Satifaction
  • employment
  • entrepreneurhsip
  • family
  • health
  • household finance
  • labor
  • privatization
  • state-owned enterprises (SOEs)
  • unemployment
  • wages


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