The UK Government's privatization programme was justified in terms of potential efficiency gains. This paper concentrates on measures of technical efficiency in the regions of the UK natural gas industry before and after privatization and the associated regulatory changes. It uses non-parametric frontier analysis and Malmquist indices to show that the rate of productivity growth increased significantly after privatization. However the differences in technical efficiency amongst regions remain, suggesting that failure to break up the industry has sacrificed potential gains from direct competition or indirect competition through yardstick regulation.
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