Artículos de revistas
Utilities privatization and the poor: lessons and evidence from Latin America
World Develpment 29 (7): 1179-1198 jul 2001
Gómez-Lobo Echeñique, Andrés
The perception that privatization hurts the poor is growing and creating a backlash against the private provision of basic infrastructure services. At the same time, governments are finding themselves fiscally strapped, searching for ways to finance the large investments needed to expand services to the poor. In Latin America, a laboratory for privatization, evidence exists which sheds light on the privatization experience. This paper analyzes the channels through which the poor might either lose or gain from privatization, examines the evidence accumulated on what has actually happened, and then discusses the policy options available to decision-makers who want to increase efficiency while at the same time dealing with the infrastructure needs of the poor that have been identified as being important for their welfare. In that context, the issue of whether welfare considerations should form part of the regulatory approach to privatized services is examined. The paper's major aims are to shed light on the issue of who can and does benefit from privatization of utilities, and to guide policy-makers in the choices.