Complex state ownership, competition, and firm performance – Russian evidence

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Purpose: State ownership has been common especially in industries with restricted competition. In Russia, state-controlled firms represent around 41 percent of the market value of all listed firms (Deloitte, 2015). Yet, there is a significant gap in the literature regarding the effects of various forms of government control in listed firms. The purpose of this paper is to fill this gap by exploring the impact of the complexity of state ownership and competition on the performance of Russian listed firms. Design/methodology/approach: The sample consists of data for 72 firms (360 firm-years) in the Russian MOEX broad market index during 2011–2015. The complexity of state ownership is captured by studying forms of state control including majority/minority, direct/indirect, federal/regional, mixed structures and golden shares. Findings: The authors find significant differences in performance relating to different forms of state ownership. State control is negatively related to firm valuation and the sales/employees ratio. Performance is weakest when state ownership takes the form minority, regional or direct ownership. State control through golden shares typically outperforms other state-controlled firms. The authors find indications of employment prioritization beyond the economical optimum. In addition, the relation between state ownership and profitability becomes positive in sectors where state firms appear to enjoy lower competition. Originality/value: While the effects of state ownership have been studied on many markets, there is a lack of studies on the effects of different forms, or the complexity, of state ownership beyond direct and indirect ownership. The authors contribute to the literature on the performance effects of state ownership by studying a multitude of forms of governmental ownership as well as the role of competition in Russia. Especially the profitability of state-controlled firms is significantly affected by industry characteristics. Implications of the results are discussed both from firm and policy maker perspectives.


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Externa organisationer
  • Hanken School of Economics

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Företagsekonomi


Sidor (från-till)189-221
Antal sidor33
TidskriftInternational Journal of Emerging Markets
Utgåva nummer2
Tidigt onlinedatum2019 jul 30
StatusPublished - 2020
Peer review utfördJa