State-owned enterprises on all government levels 2019-2020

 State-owned enterprises on all government levels

2019 – 2020

In late 2017, CIRIEC’ Scientific Commission PE/PS launched an in-depth reflection process to come out with new research topics and a more functional operating structure, adapted to practical organisational issues and members’ research affinities.

To this end, a questionnaire was sent to all members of the Commission to inquire on research topics to explore and on the possibility to create working groups around topics of major interest.

Following this process, five main research themes emerged, each one led by one Commission member-coordinator.

The new research themes deal with topical issues concerning “State-owned enterprises on all government levels”:

  • Women representation in SOEs
  • Accountability
  • Inter-governmental organizations
  • Remunicipalization
  • Performance of SOEs

Various working groups were set up in mid-2019; some experts worked at the national level, but due to the occurrence of the COVID-19 health crisis, most stopped working at the international level.
Only one of the 5 working groups was effectively operational and able to carry out its work.

  • Accountability, anti-corruption and transparency policies in publicly-owned enterprises (POEs)

Andrea Zatti, Università de Pavia, Italy


The aim of the research project is to focus on a specific issue concerning the management of Publicly-owned enterprises-POEs which is the internalisation of effective corruption prevention mechanisms.
The project proposal aims at filling this gap by understanding the state of implementation of different anti-corruption and compliance measures in POEs in several European, or even extra-European countries.
In order to properly implement the project, the working group will be composed by a group of minimum 5-6 researchers, coming from different nationalities.

One Ciriec WP introducing the general issue
Several Ciriec WP on national case studies
Scientific contributions on peer reviewed journals including general multi-countries findings

Suggested timeline
18 months project. May be shorter if grants or specific funds can be obtained.
It can be started in spring 2019, having final reports ready in autumn 2020.

A webinar was held on 4 June 2020 about “Accountability, anti-corruption and transparency policies in Public owned enterprises (POEs)” . It was coordinated by  Andrea Zatti, Università de Pavia (IT).

More info and presentations are available HERE


Here below a description of other working groups for 2019:

Working groups and leading researcher(s)

  • Determinants of representation of women as executive directors in State-owned enterprises (SOEs) in 20 different countries:  comparative data set and analysis

Ulf Papenfuß, Zeppelin Universität Friedrichshafen, Germany


The research project focuses on two main aspects of the general issue of representation of women in SOEs:

  1. the representation of women as Executive Directors in State-Owned Enterprises on all Government levels and the effects of public corporate governance codes;
  2. the disclosure of Executive Directors pay of State-Owned Enterprises on all Government levels and the effects of public corporate governance codes.

  • Inter-governmental organizations at the local level – a viable approach?

Ola Mattisson & Anna Thomasson, University of Lund, Sweden

The proposal suggests a broad research approach to generate more knowledge, empirically and theoretically, about local government organizations which make joint efforts to reach large-scale advantages and possibilities to share critical resources and competencies.
The research will aim at analyzing whether there are different governance structures and systems that are useful and to what extent they are dependent on a specific institutional setting.

To this end, three overall dimensions of analysis will be investigated:

  • What do we know about efficiency and outcome in this type of organizations?
  • What are the implications and consequences in terms of governance and at the local level?
  • What are the implications and consequences in terms of transparency and accountability at the local level?

  • Scope to republicisation – territorial re-appropriation of services of general economic interest

Pierre Bauby, Réseau RAP (Reconstruire l’Action Publique), France


The working group will focus on the phenomena of the regain of renationalisations (often regarded as provisional to surpass the effects of the crisis) and of remunicipalisations, in particular in the water-wastewater sector and in the electricity sector.

The research will aim at collecting the ‘weak signals’ proving or, on the contradictory, disabling or tempering the indicated phenomena, in order to analyse the new forms that are emerging, the obstacles encountered, the resistances of the previous models of organisation, etc.

  • Comparative Studies of the Performance of State-Owned Enterprise in Selected Sectors

Eoin Reeves and Donal Palcic, University of Limerick, Ireland


This study seeks to conduct a harmonised cross-country analysis of the performance of public enterprises in selected sectors.  The proposed study also aims to conduct a harmonised analysis of the financial performance of SOEs in chosen sectors.

The study will involve:

  • The selection of countries;
  • The selection of sectors and enterprises (e.g. postal services and transport companies)
  • The identification of appropriate performance indicators (see below)
  • The selection of a suitable and practical time period.
  • The publication of results (refereed journal articles or edited volume)

It is proposed that the participants in this study adopt a sophisticated methodology for measuring productivity, such as total factor productivity (TFP), data envelopment analysis (DEA) or stochastic frontier analysis (SFA) where appropriate data is available. The precise methodology adopted will depend on the type of data available over time, and a common approach must be agreed by participants.