State-owned Enterprises Across Europe

Bram De Lange (Ghent University)
Bruno Merlevede (Ghent University)

Abstract: We developed a dataset on state-owned enterprises across 27 European countries, over more than a decade (1999-2012). To achieve this, we relied on a representative firm-level dataset, AMADEUS. This dataset enables us to observe and identify state investors operating at several levels of government (local, province and federal), investing domestically and abroad. After documenting our identification procedure we present various examples pointing towards the accuracy of our dataset. We document a large presence of state firms in the Eastern part of Europe, in former Command Economies. State presence is heavily concentrated in certain sectors and we record differences in state orientation across the different Legal Origins present in our dataset. The extent to which states interfere in the economy correlates with several measures of general economic development, political freedom and corruption. Based on a simple regression framework, imposing a mixture of fixed effects, we present evidence that firms with a higher investment stake by state investors have a lower level of total factory productivity on average, employ more workers and pay higher wages, hereby reaffirming existing studies on the link state firms-efficiency and different firm objectives for a much larger cross-country panel.

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