This book is based on a combination of real-world experiences and academic work. On the practical level, it owes much to direct experience on privatization sales conducted at the Department of the Treasury of the Italian Ministry of Economics and Finance. On the academic level, it has benefited from interaction with a number of academics involved in similar lines of research on privatization, corporate governance, and regulation.
Among these, special thanks go to Bill Megginson and Guido Tabellini. Bill shared his knowledge of privatization literature, helping us in the design of this editorial project. Guido's criticism and comments on earlier versions of the manuscript have been useful in improving the empirical tests and in developing new research hypotheses.
Comprehensive empirical analyses need large databases and assembling them is a long and tiring process. In this respect, we owe a debt of gratitude to Marcella Fantini, who helped us in the construction of most of the datasets used in the book and performed several econometric tests. Outstanding research assistance was provided during different stages of this project by Luca Sala, Claudia Panseri, Mara Grasseni, Cristian Galizzi, and Laura Poddi. We would especially like to thank Luca Farinola for his heroic efforts in chasing privatization data. We received excellent editorial assistance from Valentina Milella, who assembled the final manuscript, patiently prepared most figures and tables, and carefully checked references, remaining supportive and cheerful throughout.
We also wish to thank the co-authors of our academic work: Frank De Jong, Giovanna Nicodano, Paolo Pinotti, Carlo Scarpa, Ibolya Schindele, and Serena Vitalini for their insights and cooperation.
We received very useful comments on single chapters or on the entire book from Utpal Bhattacharya, William Baumol, Marco Becht, Bruno Biais, Eric Berglof, Carlo Carraro, Gabriella Chiesa, George Clark, Claude d'Aspremont, Gerrit de Marez Oyens, Mara Faccio, Francesco Giavazzi, Roger Gordon, Marzio Galeotti, Dirk Heremans, André Léger, Chong Ju Choi, David Newbery, Gérard Roland, Marco Pagano, David Parker, Enrico Perotti, Enrico Rettore, Alessandro Sembenelli, Mary Shirley, Andrei Shleifer, Jacques Thisse, and Luigi Zingales. Any remaining inaccuracies and errors can, obviously, only be blamed on us.
Finally, we would like to thank the referees, the OUP delegates, and particularly Andrew Schuller, for his support and patience.
This editorial project has been conceived and realized at the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, in Milan. The Fondazione provided not only financial support, but also a stimulating research environment to develop, discuss, and disseminate our ideas.