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Investment and the soft budget constraint in China

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  • Chow, Clement K.W.
  • Song, Frank M.
  • Wong, Kit Pong
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    Abstract

    This paper examines the incentive effects of the soft budget constraint on the investment behavior of firms in general and on the investment-cash flow sensitivity in particular. To this end, we develop a simple model of moral hazard that takes the soft budget constraint into account. Within this moral hazard environment, we show that investment is positively related to the amount of internal funds. We further show that the presence of the soft budget constraint deteriorates the moral hazard problem, thereby making the investment level less sensitive to the amount of internal funds. This is the case irrespective of whether the soft budget constraint renders the firm more or less liquidity constrained. To test the model's empirical implications, we employ data of China's listed companies for the period from 1997 to 2003. We use the share of state ownership as a proxy for the severity of the soft budget constraint. We find strong evidence that firms with larger shares of state ownership exhibit lower investment-cash flow sensitivities than firms with smaller shares of state ownership.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Review of Economics & Finance.

    Volume (Year): 19 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 2 (April)
    Pages: 219-227

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:reveco:v:19:y:2010:i:2:p:219-227

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620165

    Related research

    Keywords: Investment-cash flow sensitivities Moral hazard Soft budget constraints;

    References

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    1. Joao F. Gomes, 2001. "Financing Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1263-1285, December.
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    14. Aydogan Alti, 2003. "How Sensitive Is Investment to Cash Flow When Financing Is Frictionless?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(2), pages 707-722, 04.
    15. Eric S. Maskin, 1999. "Recent Theoretical Work on the Soft Budget Constraint," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 421-425, May.
    16. Jason G. Cummins & Kevin A. Hassett & Stephen D. Oliner, 1999. "Investment behavior, observable expectations, and internal funds," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-27, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    17. Kaplan, Steven N & Zingales, Luigi, 1997. "Do Investment-Cash Flow Sensitivities Provide Useful Measures of Financing Constraints," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 169-215, February.
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    Cited by:
    1. Deng, Lu & Li, Sifei & Liao, Mingqing & Wu, Weixing, 2013. "Dividends, investment and cash flow uncertainty: Evidence from China," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 112-124.
    2. Bradford, William & Chen, Chao & Zhu, Song, 2013. "Cash dividend policy, corporate pyramids, and ownership structure: Evidence from China," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 445-464.
    3. Fonseka, M.M. & Colombage, Sisira R.N. & Tian, Gao-Liang, 2014. "Effects of regulator's announcements, information asymmetry and ownership changes on private equity placements: Evidence from China," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 126-149.

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