State Ownership and Corporate Governance: Empirical Evidence from Norway and Sweden
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Since the late 1990s, the corporate governance of state-owned companies (SOCs) has moved to the forefront of the political agenda in several Western European countries and elsewhere. Triggered by large corporate scandals, international corporate governance developments, and the recurring criticism of state ownership administration, we have seen political attempts to cope with issues of firm monitoring and control. Among the governance issues which have received the most attention are board appointments (who should serve as chairmen of SOC boards?), chief executive compensation contracts (how much should top managers be paid, and should incentive schemes be included in the compensation contracts?), and dividend payments (how much dividends should be extracted from SOCs?). In this thesis, I offer a comprehensive treatment of these issues insofar as I provide both thorough descriptive accounts and rigorous statistical analyses of the factors which might explain governance decisions. The empirical investigation draws on data from a broad sample of SOCs in the two Scandinavian countries of Norway and Sweden over the period 2000-2005.