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The Political-Economy Implications of the Transition from State-Owned to Mixed-Owned Enterprises: Evidence from the European Gas Sector

Roberto Cardinale ()

Departmental Working Papers from Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano

Abstract: This paper analyses how the transition from State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) to Mixed- Owned Enterprises (MOEs) in the European gas sector affected the European states’ ability to pursue public policy objectives. More specifically, the analysis focuses on the extent to which public and private interests can be reconciled within MOEs’ strategy. The paper suggests that the rise of profitability as the central objective for MOEs has prevented states from pursuing some, though not all, of the policy objectives that they could pursue before the transition. For example, states can no more pursue large-scale plans of economic and technological development through MOEs, or ensure consumers’ price affordability irrespective of market fluctuations. However, states may still be able to positively contribute to energy security thanks to the major shares held in MOEs, for instance by vetoing divestment from import infrastructure. The analysis suggests the need for states to devise alternative ways to pursue their objectives in the framework of national and European energy policy.

Keywords: State-owned enterprises; Mixed-owned enterprises; Partial privatisation; Golden share; Golden power; Corporate governance; Political economy of gas (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L95 L98 O13 O25 P16 P18 P43 Q48 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017-07-20
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