Rentsch & Finger: Yes, no, maybe: the ambiguous relationships between State-owned enterprises and States


In the process of liberalization and, with the introduction of sector-specific regulators, the position of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) of the network industries has changed not only within national economies, but also vis-à-vis their respective States. Reacting to this new environment, many SOEs started to pursue ambiguous non-market strategies, simultaneously seeking autonomy and State protection. In response to these strategies, States, in their various roles, particularly as both owners and regulators of SOEs, became especially interested in the control of strategically important SOEs. In this paper, we observe ambiguous relationships of SOEs with the French, German and Swiss State. We show that the positions of States vis-à-vis their enterprises is also ambiguous and the behavior, thus, may not always be effective, due mainly to role conflicts.


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