Bernardo Bortolotti, Laura Pellizzola, Carlo Scarpa

Majors as shareholders: an empirical analysis of municipal capitalism in Italy

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This paper measures the presence of Italian local public bodies in limited companies of medium-large size, investigating the balance sheets of 423 non financial firms. Such firms produce about 1 percent of Italian GDP and employ more than 200.000 people. The data confirm that they are especially present in the North, and that in some regions their share of GDP and employment reaches, respectively, 6 and 2 percent. Public ownership is typically associated to public control over these firms, where private shareholders play a marginal role. The presence of private capital is however associated to greater profitability and efficiency, as well as lower debt.

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