Handbook of the International Political Economy of the Corporation
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Handbook of the International Political Economy of the Corporation

Edited by Andreas Nölke and Christian May

Over the past few decades, corporations have been neglected in studies of international political economy (IPE). Seeking to demystify them, what they are, how they behave and their goals and constraints, this Handbook introduces the corporation as a unit of analysis for students of IPE. Providing critical discussion of their global and domestic power, and highlighting the ways in which corporations interact with each other and with their socio-political environment, this Handbook presents a thorough and up-to-date overview of the main debates around the role of corporations in the global political economy.
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Chapter 7: The state and public corporations

Judith Clifton and Daniel Díaz-Fuentes

Abstract

Public corporations are created when public services are transformed into corporations via corporatization. But what are the consequences of corporatization, and does it make public service privatization more likely? This chapter presents and critically interprets the two main bodies of theoretical scholarship on corporatization which offer different perspectives on this question. It then examines the nature of corporatization, its evolution and its consequences. The authors find that, initially, corporatization proceeded rapidly during the 1980s, in the European Union (EU) telecommunications market, but then started to meet with some obstacles in other EU markets, such as energy. Corporatization was promoted around the world by international organizations, including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank. In the 2000s, corporatization spread to the health and education sectors. However, despite the efforts of its promoters, corporatization has spread slower than its proponents would perhaps desire, not least because the uniform recipe created is a poor fit for the economic realities of diverse countries around the world.

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