ABSTRACT. Technological breakthroughs, macroeconomic pressures, and advances in economic thought have led to a redefinition of the role of the state from producer to arbiter among private interests. Still, the details of such a redefinition vary among countries. We aim to understand the reasons for such differences and draw their policy implications through a case study of the electricity industry in Brazil, China, and India. Over the past decade, these countries have sought to restructure their state-owned electric utilities. The restructuring effort has led to different outcomes in the three countries. We argue that ideology, institutional arrangements, and the behavior of interest groups lie at the heart of such differences.