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The return of public enterprise



Public enterprises never disappeared in spite of several privatization waves in the last three decades. This paper offers some trends and possible rationales for their resilience. In a sample of the Forbes 2000 top corporations, as reviewed by OECD economists (Kowalski et al. 2013), we show that the around ten per cent of state-owned enterprises perform better in financial terms than their private counterparts. The Great Recession has also shown that governments had to take over failing major private enterprises, including particularly banks. In several countries, particularly in Western Europe, there is municipalization of electricity and water distribution. In the EU/15, there is also evidence that in electricity and gas, government owned incumbents offer fairer prices to households than private competitors. Recent research on mergers and acquisitions confirms that in the last ten years there has been an increase of publicization relative to privatization, including through trans-border deals.

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  • Massimo Florio, 2014. "The return of public enterprise," Working Papers 201401, CSIL Centre for Industrial Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:mst:wpaper:201401

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hans Christiansen, 2011. "The Size and Composition of the SOE Sector in OECD Countries," OECD Corporate Governance Working Papers 5, OECD Publishing.
    2. Przemyslaw Kowalski & Max Büge & Monika Sztajerowska & Matias Egeland, 2013. "State-Owned Enterprises: Trade Effects and Policy Implications," OECD Trade Policy Papers 147, OECD Publishing.
    3. Emanuele BACCHIOCCHI & Massimo FLORIO & Marco GAMBARO, 2008. "Telecom prices, regulatory reforms, and consumers’ satisfaction: evidence for 15 EU countries," Departmental Working Papers 2008-10, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano, revised 20 Jun 2008.
    4. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-De-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "Government Ownership of Banks," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(1), pages 265-301, February.
    5. David Hall & Emanuele Lobina & Philipp Terhorst, 2013. "Re-municipalisation in the early twenty-first century: water in France and energy in Germany," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(2), pages 193-214, March.
    6. Brown, Stephen P.A. & Yücel, Mine K., 2008. "Deliverability and regional pricing in U.S. natural gas markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 2441-2453, September.
    7. José M. Alonso & Judith Clifton & Daniel Díaz-Fuentes & Marcos Fernández-Gutiérrez & Julio Revuelta, 2013. "The race for international markets: Were privatized telecommunications incumbents more successful than their public counterparts?," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(2), pages 215-236, March.
    8. Fiorio, Carlo V. & Florio, Massimo, 2013. "Electricity prices and public ownership: Evidence from the EU15 over thirty years," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 222-232.
    9. Rinaldo Brau & Raffaele Doronzo & Carlo V. Fiorio & Massimo Florio, 2010. "EU Gas Industry Reforms and Consumers' Prices," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 167-182.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:sgh:gosnar:y:2017:i:3:p:89-114 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Maciej Bałtowski & Grzegorz Kwiatkowski, 2014. "Modele funkcjonowania i nadzoru państwa nad przedsiębiorstwami państwowymi," Gospodarka Narodowa, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 4, pages 5-26.
    3. Clò Stefano & Ferraris Matteo & Florio Massimo, 2015. "Public Enterprises in a Global Perspective in the Last Decade," L'industria, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1, pages 111-138.
    4. Stefano CLÒ & Chiara F. DEL BÒ & Matteo FERRARIS & Carlo FIORIO & Massimo FLORIO & Daniela VANDONE, 2014. "Publicization versus Privatization: Recent worldwide evidence," CIRIEC Working Papers 1403, CIRIEC - Université de Liège.
    5. John Bennett & Manfredi La manna, 2012. "Mixed Oligopoly and Entry," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 12-01, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
    6. Gelves, Juan Alejandro & Heywood, John S., 2016. "How does a mixed ownership firm license a patent?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 278-284.

    More about this item


    Public enterprise; privatization;

    JEL classification:

    • H44 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Goods: Mixed Markets
    • L32 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Public Enterprises; Public-Private Enterprises
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out

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