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Context and Contingency: Explaining State Ownership in Norway

  • EINAR LIE (a1)

At the present time, the Norwegian state owns a large number of business enterprises. The state controls around 35 percent of the total values on the Oslo Stock Exchange, and five of the seven largest listed companies are partially owned by the state, ranging from 34 to 64 percent. This article traces the background of state ownership from the formative phase of state involvement in the modern economy, and it demonstrates how this ownership provided growth in state enterprises after 1945. The broad support for large state enterprises is explained by ongoing national, political, social, and economic contexts. There is a high level of trust in the state, which is perceived as a protector of common interests. Broad support is also based on the fact that there is a lack of private investors and a strong inclination to restrict foreign influence in the domestic economy.

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