This paper comments on several recent contributions and suggests the perspective of a comparative political economy of pubic enterprise, focusing on the relationship between public policy and organization, beyond the traditional comparison of the performance of public and private enterprises. In this perspective recent studies include the comparative history of public intervention in the economy of six major powers; public enterprises in emerging economies, particularly in Latin America, and on corporatization in the Global South; case studies of the mission of contemporary public enterprises in developed economies. In the historical perspective the privatisation of IRI, the most important industrial group in Italy, should be critically reconsidered, as a crisis of a political economy equilibrium and not just as financial arrangement. The paper is concluded by some considerations on the research agenda on public enterprises in our days.
Keywords: State-owned enterprises, public enterprises, privatization, comparative political economy.
Jel Code: H13, L32, L33