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Innovation in State-Owned Enterprises: Reconsidering the Conventional Wisdom

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  • Filippo Belloc

Abstract

A very well-established economic literature maintains that state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are inefficient as compared to privately owned ones (POEs). In this paper, I argue that SOEs' inefficiency is not due to state ownership per se, but is rather caused conditions other than ownership, to which SOEs often — though not necessarily always — relate. In particular, I focus on dynamic efficiency — specifically, the production of technological innovation — of SOEs in manufacturing industries, where SOEs should contend with POEs in a competitive environment. I suggest that targeted measures, which are aimed at increasing managers' commitment to long-term investment strategies and at reducing corruption and political interference — albeit complex and difficult to implement — can be much more (positively) impactful on long-run technical progress than the simple privatization of companies. This leaves room for exploration and implementation of policies that might reconcile state ownership and market competition in industrial sectors.

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  • Filippo Belloc, 2014. "Innovation in State-Owned Enterprises: Reconsidering the Conventional Wisdom," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(3), pages 821-848.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:jeciss:v:48:y:2014:i:3:p:821-848
    DOI: 10.2753/JEI0021-3624480311
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • P12 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Capitalist Enterprises

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