The economic activities of the public sector are of great importance to the national economy. At the same time, topics such as 'privatization' and, in the wake of the financial and economic crisis of 2007/08, to an increasing extent 'remunicipalization' are of concern to politicians, business, the media and the public alike. We want to contribute to this discourse by gaining systematic and holistic scientific insights into this still rather under-researched sector.
The subject of our research is the nature of public enterprises from an economic perspective. The focus is on theory in the sense of a scientific-theoretical foundation of public enterprises as well as on empiricism. The latter serves the elaboration of objective findings derived from reality.
Our work is primarily economic in nature. In order to do justice to the high complexity of the subject area, however, we understand this orientation to be broadly located within the social sciences. Only by adequately taking into account the social and political environment in which public companies operate can we fulfill the holistic nature of our research activities.
We want to do justice to the special character of this sector, which is characterized by a logic of action that differs from that of purely private as well as purely public institutions. This is expressed, for example, in terms of the focus on sustainability and the provision of services of general interest coupled with (partial) profit-making intentions, the choice of legal forms, the nature of the tasks assigned (public transport, supply and disposal, hospitals, housing construction - and sometimes including permanently loss-making units such as parking facilities, swimming pools), etc. The resulting tension between the two is also reflected in the fact that the public sector and the private sector are not the same.
The resulting tension between private-sector activities in a public sphere of influence is our primary sphere of activity.