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Do Firms in Transition Economies have Soft Budget Constraints? A Reconsideration of the Concepts and Evidence

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  • Mark E. Schaffer

Abstract

This paper first examines various definitions of Kornai's soft budget constraint (SBC) and the difficulties involved in interpreting data on losses, subsidies and financing, and then considers selective evidence from transition economies. Stocks of overdue trade credit are no larger than in Western economies and firms in transition economies (TEs) typically impose hard budget constraints on each other. Banks have not been a systematic source of SBCs as often as is sometimes argued on the basis of data on classified loans; in 1992 Hungarian banks were imposing hard budget constraints on firms at the same time that they were classifying large volumes of their loans as bad. Tax arrears have emerged as a major source, and in the rapidly reforming TEs, the major source, of SBC's.

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File URL: http://www.sml.hw.ac.uk/downloads/cert/wpa/1997/dp9720.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University in its series CERT Discussion Papers with number 9720.

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Date of creation: 1997
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Handle: RePEc:hwe:certdp:9720

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Keywords: soft budget constraint; transition economies; trade credit; bad debt; tax arrears.;

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References

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  1. G. Alfandari & M.E. Schaffer, 1996. ""Arrears" in the Russian Enterprise Sector," CERT Discussion Papers 9608, Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University.
  2. Chong-en Bai & Yijiang Wang, 1997. "Agency in Project Screening and Termination Decisions: Why Is Good Money Thrown After Bad?," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 43, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  3. Goldfeld, Stephen M. & Quandt, Richard E., 1990. "Output targets, the soft budget constraint and the firm under central planning," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 205-222, October.
  4. Kornai, Janos & Weibull, Jorgen W., 1983. "Paternalism, buyers' and sellers' market," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 153-169, November.
  5. Goldfeld, Stephen M. & Quandt, Richard E., 1988. "Budget constraints, bailouts, and the firm under central planning," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 502-520, December.
  6. Kornai, Janos, 1986. "The Soft Budget Constraint," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(1), pages 3-30.
  7. Schaffer, Mark E, 1995. "Government Subsidies to Enterprises in Central and Eastern Europe: Budgetary Subsidies and Tax Arrears," CEPR Discussion Papers 1144, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Perotti, E. C., 1998. "Inertial credit and opportunistic arrears in transition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(9), pages 1703-1725, November.
  9. Hillman, Arye L & Katz, Eliakim & Rosenberg, Jacob, 1987. "Workers as Insurance: Anticipated Government Assistance and Factor Demand," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(4), pages 813-20, December.
  10. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1996. "Whither Socialism?," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262691825, December.
  11. Dewatripont, M & Maskin, E, 1995. "Credit and Efficiency in Centralized and Decentralized Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 541-55, October.
  12. Schaffer, Mark E., 1989. "The credible-commitment problem in the center-enterprise relationship," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 359-382, September.
  13. M Belka & S Estrin & M Schaffer & I.J. Singh, 1995. "Enterprise Adjustment in Poland: Evidence from a Survey of 200 Private," CEP Discussion Papers dp0233, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  14. Boycko, Maxim & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1996. "A Theory of Privatisation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(435), pages 309-19, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Jon Stern & Junior R. Davis, 1998. "Economic reform of the electricity industries of Central and Eastern Europe," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 6(2), pages 427-460, November.
  2. Mehrdad VAHABI, 2001. "The Soft Budget Constraint : A Theoretical Clarification," Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) 2001024, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  3. Lubomir Dmitrov, 1999. "Budget Constraints of Bulgarian Enterprises, 1996-97," CERT Discussion Papers 9905, Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University.
  4. Anex, Robert P., 2002. "Restructuring and privatizing electricity industries in the commonwealth of independent states," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 397-408, April.

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