Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Stop the presses!

Maladjusted has just received breaking news that's sure to overturn everything we know about market efficiency: privately operated airports in Latin America are not more efficient than publicly operated ones! According to a study published by the World Bank! THIS. CHANGES. EVERYTHING.

That's right, the authors of the new World Bank working paper, Sergio Perelman and Tomas Serebrisky, set out to address a seriously urgent shortcoming in the obscure airport efficiency literature (usually filed in academic journals under the "who the fuck cares?" category). In their words:
"To the best extent of our knowledge, there has not been any study that computes the efficiency and performance of a representative sample of airports in Latin America. The main objective of this paper is to fill this gap in the literature."
But just imagine their surprise when they realized that they had accidentally stumbled upon research that is vaguely interesting to more than three other people who study the subject. From the report:
"Probably the most unexpected result is that privately operated airports in Latin America have not outperformed publicly operated airports. Given the wide variety of private participation schemes used by Latin American countries, this result should lead to more detailed and case by case research to assess the effects of private participation on airport performance. In addition, future research should also assess the impact of private sector participation on the financial efficiency of LAC airports as well as on the quality of service they deliver."
Well consider me among those whose worldview has just been shattered. Snark aside, I was pleasantly surprised that what seemed like an otherwise trivial and pointlessly obscure research brief (measured against other World Bank research papers, which are usually in a triviality league of their own) turned out to be modestly insightful.

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