Fredrik Sjöholm: European Institute of Japanese Studies, Postal: Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, S-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden
Abstract: Equitization (privatization) has been at the core of the policy debate in Vietnam over the last decade but the government’s attitude seems ambivalent. On the one hand, equitization is emphasized in policy statements. On the other, the progress on equitization has been relatively modest and SOEs continue to dominate the Vietnamese economy. This paper examines SOEs and the equitization process in Vietnam. We compare the development with guidelines from economic theory and with lessons from privatization programs in other countries. Equitization in Vietnam is found to target small SOEs and no larger ones, and it does not address the efficiency problem with state ownership since the state typically remains a controlling share of the equitized SOEs. Moreover, economic theory and experience from other countries suggest that the Vietnamese approach with diffused ownership in SOEs and in equitized firms; equitization to employees and management; and little participation of strategic investors, might not be the most efficient approach to public ownership and to equitization. We argue in this paper that Vietnam still has an opportunity to change its approach towards SOEs and equitization and thereby secure increased efficiency and economic growth.
34 pages, August 1, 2006
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