Politics, public opinion, and privatization
Battaglio, R. Paul
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This dissertation is concerned with assessing citizen attitudes with respect to market reforms of state-owned enterprises. Researchers know relatively little empirically about how citizens evaluate such reforms, given the imperative normative and political overtones associated with the privatization of state-owned enterprises globally. More importantly, researchers know even less about attitudinal differences regarding privatization predicated upon citizen nationalities. Specifically, this dissertation will examine the calculus of consent for market reforms among citizens of developed and transitional economy nations using the 1996 International Social Survey Programs Role of Government III survey. The purpose of this research is to add to a growing body of comparative administration literature (Durant & Legge, 2002; Legge & Durant, 2005) on assessing citizen attitudes. In so doing, this dissertation enhances the analytical framework developed by these scholars. The improved framework will provide researchers with an even more precise tool for analyzing how citizens feel about and arrive at their judgments about market reforms, specifically reforms intended to privatize public services. Utilizing heteroskedastic probit analysis and marginal effects analysis, assessing the calculus of consent for market reforms will be greatly improved for future research. This dissertation will provide researchers with a necessary analytical framework for evaluating citizen attitudes, and for anticipating and dealing strategically with the perceived consequences of denationalization efforts. The probit statistics and marginal effects demonstrate that respondents from developed market economies (DMEs) and transitional economies (TEs) have quite different perceptions on the subject of privatization, with transitional citizens being less supportive. The conclusions reached here link attitudes toward privatization with the implementation of other ongoing, market reforms indicating that responsiveness to citizens is imperative for practitioners and researchers to understand. The ultimate scope of privatization in developed market economies and transitional economies alike may depend on the extent to which practitioners avoid charges of a democratic deficit. If these experiences prove typical, top-down and elite-driven models of decision making may well produce policy and implementation delays or even impasses as excluded citizens react negatively to these methods. The analysis will demonstrate that the calculus of consent for market reforms is multifaceted. Market reforms, specifically privatization, have proven to be a contentious issue, especially with respect to national and industrial contexts. While there is still more to be done in our understanding of market reforms, this dissertation has vigorously probed the bounds of citizen consent for privatization.