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Profiting from Government Stakes in a Command Economy: Evidence from Chinese Asset Sales

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  • Charles Calomiris
  • Raymond Fisman
  • Yongxiang Wang

Abstract

We document the market response to an unexpected announcement of proposed sales of government-owned shares in China. In contrast to the "privatization premium" found in earlier work, we find a negative effect of government ownership on returns at the announcement date and a symmetric positive effect in response to the announced cancellation of the government sell-off. We argue that this results from the absence of a Chinese political transition to accompany economic reforms, so that the positive effects on profits of political ties through government ownership outweigh the potential efficiency costs of government shareholdings. Companies with former government officials in management have positive abnormal returns, suggesting that personal ties can substitute for the benefits of government ownership. The "privatization discount" is higher for firms located in Special Economic Zones, where local government discretionary authority is highest. This is consistent with the view that firms in these locations are more dependent on government connections. We also find that companies with relatively high welfare payments to employees, which presumably would fall with privatization, benefit disproportionately from the privatization announcement.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13774.

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Date of creation: Feb 2008
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Publication status: published as Calomiris, Charles W. & Fisman, Raymond & Wang, Yongxiang, 2010. "Profiting from government stakes in a command economy: Evidence from Chinese asset sales," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 399-412, June.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13774

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Cited by:
  1. Firth, Michael & Malatesta, Paul H. & Xin, Qingquan & Xu, Liping, 2012. "Corporate investment, government control, and financing channels: Evidence from China's Listed Companies," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 433-450.
  2. Dong, Yan & Leung, Charles Ka Yui & Cai, Dongliang, 2011. "What Drives Fixed Asset Holding and Risk-Adjusted Performance of Corporate in China? An Empirical Analysis," MPRA Paper 29128, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Feng, Xunan & Johansson, Anders C. & Zhang, Tianyu, 2011. "Political Participation and Entrepreneurial Initial Public Offerings in China," Working Paper Series 2011-17, China Economic Research Center, Stockholm School of Economics.
  4. Lin, Chen & Lin, Ping & Song, Frank M. & Li, Chuntao, 2011. "Managerial incentives, CEO characteristics and corporate innovation in China's private sector," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 176-190, June.
  5. Guo, Di & Jiang, Kun & Kim, Byung-Yeon & Xu, Chenggang, 2014. "Political economy of private firms in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 286-303.
  6. Cull, Robert & Li, Wei & Sun, Bo & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2013. "Government connections and financial constraints : evidence from a large representative sample of Chinese firms," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6352, The World Bank.
  7. Sun, Pei & Xu, Haoping & Zhou, Jian, 2011. "The value of local political capital in transition China," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 110(3), pages 189-192, March.
  8. Raymond Fisman & Yasushi Hamao & Yongxiang Wang, 2014. "Nationalism and Economic Exchange: Evidence from Shocks to Sino-Japanese Relations," NBER Working Papers 20089, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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