OECD Corporate Governance Working Papers

OECD Corporate Governance Working Papers provide timely analysis and information on national and international corporate governance issues and developments, including state ownership and privatisation policies. The working paper series is designed to make select studies by the OECD Corporate Governance Committee, OECD staff members and outside consultants available to a broad audience.


The Size and Composition of the SOE Sector in OECD Countries

This working paper summarises the main findings of a data collection exercise documenting the size of the national state-owned enterprise (SOE) sectors in OECD countries (in terms of number, employment and economic value of enterprises), and provides a breakdown by main sectors and types of incorporation. The data is based on questionnaire responses from national governments, covering the years 2008 and 2009. Twenty-seven of the Organisation.s 34 member countries have contributed to date. Employment in SOEs across the OECD area exceeds 6 million people, and that the value of all SOEs combined is close to US$ 2 trillion. In addition to this, the State in many countries holds minority stakes in listed enterprises that are large enough to confer effective control. These enterprises employ a further 3 million people and are valued at close to US$ 1 trillion. Hence, while state ownership of enterprises has declined in recent decades, SOEs and similar entities continue to account for a significant part of the corporate economy in many countries. Following decades of privatisation, the remaining SOEs have a strong sectoral concentration. Around half (in value terms) of all SOEs in OECD countries are located in the network sectors, mostly transportation, power generation and other energy. A further fourth of total valuation is accounted for by financial institutions. In addition, among the partly state-owned listed companies there are many partly privatised telecommunications companies. In other words, not only do state-invested enterprises remain significant, they are also increasingly concentrated in a few ¡°strategic¡± sectors of great importance to the competitiveness of the rest of the business sector.


Keywords: privatisation, state-owned enterprises, corporate governance
JEL: G34: Financial Economics / Corporate Finance and Governance / Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance; G30: Financial Economics / Corporate Finance and Governance / Corporate Finance and Governance: General
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