State-Owned Enterprises in Singapore: Historical Insights into a Potential Model for Reform
NUS - Centre for Law & Business Working Paper No. 15/02
NUS - Centre for Asian Legal Studies Working Paper No. 15/03
27 Pages Posted: 18 Mar 2015 Last revised: 16 Jul 2016
Date Written: March 1, 2015
State owned enterprises are generally regarded as inefficient firms because of political objectives, external interference, and corruption. Notwithstanding this, studies have shown that Singapore state owned enterprises exhibit higher valuations than those of non-GLCs after controlling for firm specific factors and also have better corporate governance practices. In this paper, the authors posit an explanation. This explanation draws on the political, social and economic context that Singapore found herself in during the period of self-governance to the early years of independence from the late 1950s to the early 70s. The paper offers the view that the difficult economic conditions coupled with a contested democratic political environment in Singapore during this period played a significant role in fostering good political governance in Singapore which was in turn transposed to her state owned enterprises.
Keywords: Singapore, State owned enterprises, corporate governance, Singapore history
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