Corporate governance of state-owned enterprises

The OECD works to ensure that state-owned enterprises operate in a sound competitive and regulatory environment to promote efficient and open markets at the domestic and international level. It advances national reforms in countries across the world, guided by the internationally-agreed OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance of State-Owned Enterprises.

The OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance of State-Owned Enterprises give concrete advice to countries on how to manage more effectively their responsibilities as company owners, thus helping to make state-owned enterprises more competitive, efficient and transparent. First developed in 2005, the Guidelines were updated in 2015 to take into account developments since their adoption and to reflect the experiences of the growing number of countries that have taken steps to implement them. The updated Guidelines were adopted by the OECD in July 2015 as part of a Recommmendation of the Council. 

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Guidelines on Anti-Corruption and Integrity in SOEs

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. The OECD Guidelines on Anti-Corruption and Integrity in State-Owned Enterprises are the first international instrument to offer the state, in its role as an enterprise owner, support in fighting corruption and promoting integrity in SOEs. The Guidelines can help states to ensure that owners exemplify integrity in their conduct, that ownership arrangements are conducive to integrity, that SOEs adhere to good practices at the SOE level and that accountability mechanisms are integral to SOE sectors.

Competitive neutrality

Competitive neutrality means that state-owned and private businesses compete on a level playing field. This is essential for the effective use of resources within the economy and thus the achievement of growth and development. While the principle of competitive neutrality is gaining wide support around the world, obtaining it in practice is a much more difficult question. The OECD is engaged in multiple projects to assist policy makers in designing, adopting, and implementing appropriate policies.



Privatisation and mixed ownership

Policy makers and privatisation experts agree that it is critical to “get privatisation right.” A well-planned and executed transaction, backed by sound rationales, institutional and regulatory arrangements, good governance, and integrity can have consequences on future divestment activity by enhancing investor confidence while gaining the support of stakeholders and the public. Drawing on the internationally agreed OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance of State-Owned Enterprises and decades’ worth of national experience across both OECD and Partner economies, this Policy Maker’s Guide to Privatisation provides practical advice to newcomers on key stages of the process from inception to post-privatisation. With global privatisation activity trending upwards and expected to rise, this Guide can support policy makers in their decision making process in the years to come.

Country and sectorial reviews

OECD country reviews evaluate the corporate governance and regulatory framework for state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in individual countries. In addition to providing a quantitative sectoral overview of national SOE sectors, the reviews examine the state ownership policy, the institutional arrangements for exercising the state ownership function, the regulatory framework for competition between SOEs and private enterprises, the equitable treatment of shareholders, policies for stakeholder relations and the effectiveness and independence of SOE boards of directors.  


SOE Landscape

State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are important elements of many national economies. They are also increasingly active internationally. The OECD has the most comprehensive and internationally comparable dataset currently available on the size, sectoral distribution and corporate forms of national SOE sectors in 40 countries.