Contracting out public sector services and divesting public enterprises are reforms that have enjoyed widespread global popularity in recent years. Better services, lower prices and greater accountability are the promises made by politicians, senior executives, and investment companies when functions are moved from the public sector to private enterprise. But in Privatization, Graeme A. Hodge challenges these assumptions. Through an examination of hundreds of international studies on the performance of privatization activities, Hodge demonstrates that privatizing public services is often not the guaranteed panacea portrayed by its political supporters. Importantly, privatization activities can lead to modest gains, but there are also winners and losers in this reform. It therefore deserves far more care and balanced debate than it usually attracts.