Lesson from the past 21st century systems of state-owned enterprises
This paper traces the development of Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale and argues that the IRI created a policy-oriented system of SOEs with “entrepreneurial” characteristics.
15 April 2021
UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) Working Paper Series: IIPP WP 2021/08
Lessons from the past for 21st century systems of state-owned enterprises: The case of Italy's IRI in the 1930s
Author: Simone Gasperin IIPP
Gasperin, S. (2021). Lessons from the past for 21st century systems of state-owned enterprises: The case of Italy's IRI in the 1930s. UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, Working Paper Series (IIPP WP 2021/08).
This paper illustrates the birth of the state-holding company, Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale (Institute for the Industrial Reconstruction - IRI), and the industrial operations it carried out during the 1930s. It is argued that in those years IRI created a policy-oriented system of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) with ‘entrepreneurial’ characteristics: reorganising sectors and industrial productions, diversifying into new activities, investing in underdeveloped areas, and promoting technical and managerial training as well as scientific research. IRI’s historical example as an active and coordinating state-holding company (SHC) could stimulate useful lessons for the 21st century national systems of state-owned enterprises that aim to achieve industrial policy objectives in related sectors.