State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are a main conduit for states to exercise their roles as an economic actors. The benefits of SOE ownership are economic, political and social. So too are the costs when mismanagement or abuse occurs.
Today, SOEs account for 22% of the world’s largest companies and their role as global competitors is growing as the boundaries of markets increasingly extend beyond geographic borders. They are often concentrated in sectors with strategic importance for the state and society and are increasingly operated like private firms.
The more pronounced presence of SOEs in the global marketplace has been marked by certain high-profile scandals and occasional evidence of a susceptibility of SOEs to corruption. This raises questions about what might make SOEs susceptible to corruption and how policy makers can act to maximise their productivity by raising their integrity.