Dr. Joze P. Damijan, the professor of economics at Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, recently wrote an article about the need to accelerate the privatization of state enterprises in Slovenia. The article can be read here and here.
In Slovenia, 65 percent of the GDP is composed of private sector while public sector is extensive, accounting for about 35 percent of the GDP. There is a numerous empirical evidence in favor of privatization. In fact, the allocation of scarce resources is the key argument for privatization. Managers in state enterprises have different interests than private investors. That's why, private enterprises are more risk-taking in particular investment opportunities. Thus, as an empirical matter, private investors usuallly sustain higher rates of return on equity than managers in state companies.
In Slovenia, the government has been controlling the economy by extensive ownership participation in all major enterprises, ranging from insurance companies (Triglav), pharmaceutical industry (Krka), manufacturing sector (Gorenje) to retail industry (Mercator), banking sector (Nova Ljubljanska Banka, NKBM) and even telecommunication sector (Telekom Slovenije, Mobitel).
There is also a proof that sizeable state entrepreneurship reduces growth and distorts capital allocation nevertheless. In China, there is an average estimate that a decrease in state-owned enterprise share of industrial production increases real GDP growth by 1,14 percent (Phillips, Kunrong 2003).
In Slovenia, political and popular attitude toward the privatization is somehow negative. Yet, the privatzation is urgent. Some privatization is already taking place. Unfortunately, it is taking place very slowly and non-transparently. The withdrawl of government ownership of enterprises is essential to sound economic performance and economic liberty nevertheless.