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Boundaries and governance of Italian state-owned enterprise: a quantitative approach


  • Pier Angelo Toninelli


  • Michelangelo Vasta



For the most part of the last century the role of State owned enterprises was probably more pronounced, continuous and prolonged in Italy than elsewhere in the West. This was the response to the fact that Italian economic growth had long been penalized by structural frailties such as a narrow internal market, a shortage of capital, financial weakness and a decline of entrepreneurial initiative. Yet, the complexity of forms and organizations assumed by the State direct intervention in the economy (just to limit our analysis to the central level) reached heights of imagination and ingenuity in Italy that were probably unknown abroad: State companies, State monopolies, shareholding companies, State concerns and so on co-existed throughout the twentieth century. This helps to explaining why we do not yet have a precise and thorough measure of the weight of public enterprise on the entire economy, not to say of more specific data concerning their sectorial and/or regional distribution. Thus it has not been so far possible to identify precisely - at a micro level - the real dimension of Italian public enterprise, and hence assess a phenomenon whose actual magnitude remains unknown to us. The aim of our paper is to fill this gap by showing the basic features of the dimension, boundaries, structure, governance and location of Italian SOEs.

Suggested Citation

  • Pier Angelo Toninelli & Michelangelo Vasta, 2010. "Boundaries and governance of Italian state-owned enterprise: a quantitative approach," Working Papers 182, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:182

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    More about this item


    Italy; State owned enterprise; size and structure; governance; economic history;

    JEL classification:

    • N44 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: 1913-
    • L32 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Public Enterprises; Public-Private Enterprises
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance

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