IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Competitive Neutrality and State-Owned Enterprises: Challenges and Policy Options

  • Antonio Capobianco
  • Hans Christiansen
Registered author(s):

    Competitive neutrality implies that no business entity is advantaged (or disadvantaged) solely because of its ownership. The Paper argues that far from all SOEs have the opportunity or the incentives to act in an anti-competitive way, and a trend in recent decades toward more fully corporatised and commercially operating SOEs has no doubt improved overall efficiency. However, problems remain, not least in the network industries where many remaining SOEs are market incumbents that continue to enjoy monopolies in part of their value chains or government subsidies, purportedly in compensation for public service obligations. Renewed concerns about competitive neutrality have also arisen from the market entry of SOEs domiciled in countries where the process of corporatisation has yet to run its full course. To counter these problems some OECD countries as well as the European Union have established specific competitive neutrality frameworks. These frameworks go beyond addressing the anti-competitive behaviour of SOEs, to also establish mechanisms to identify and eliminate such competitive advantages as they may have, including with respect to taxation, financing costs and regulatory neutrality. The experience so far with such formal arrangements is generally encouraging. Jurisdictions that have them have generally been successful in rolling back state subsidies and, on the evidence to date, have obtained significant economic efficiency gains. The Working Paper concludes that a full implementation of the OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance of State-Owned Enterprises would go a long way in ensuring competitive neutrality. The business activities of currently unincorporated segments of the government sector would become much more competitive and accountable if they were made subject to the Guidelines. For incorporated SOEs the Guidelines also include a portmanteau recommendation of a “level playing field”. However, they offer only limited concrete recommendations on how governments are expected to obtain this outcome in practice. The Guidelines are moreover weakly implemented in a number of countries.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Our checks indicate that this address may not be valid because: 403 Forbidden ( [303 See Other]--> If this is indeed the case, please notify ()

    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Corporate Governance Working Papers with number 1.

    in new window

    Date of creation: May 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:oec:dafaae:1-en
    Contact details of provider: Postal: 2 rue Andre Pascal, 75775 Paris Cedex 16
    Phone: 33-(0)-1-45 24 82 00
    Fax: 33-(0)-1-45 24 85 00
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oec:dafaae:1-en. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.