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Ownership versus Environment: Why are Public Sector Firms Inefficient?

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  • Ann P. Bartel
  • Ann E. Harrison

Abstract

In this paper we disentangle the sources of public sector inefficiency using 1982-1995 panel data on manufacturing firms in Indonesia. We consider two leading hypotheses: (1) public sector enterprises are inefficient due to monitoring problems and (2) public sector enterprises are inefficient because of the environment in which they operate, as measured by the soft budget constraint. The two models are nested in a production function framework and the empirical results provide support for the second hypothesis. Public sector enterprises are inefficient because of their access to soft loans; public sector ownership has no independent impact on productivity growth. The finding that ownership per se does not matter, but environment does, holds when we control for fixed effects and when we allow for the endogeneity of government loans. Interestingly, private sector firms with access to government loans did not perform more poorly than other private sector enterprises. Another dimension of the environment, i.e. import penetration, also matters; public sector enterprises that have been shielded from import competition are inferior performers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7043.

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Date of creation: Mar 1999
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Publication status: published as Ann P. Bartel & Ann E. Harrison, 2005. "Ownership Versus Environment: Disentangling the Sources of Public-Sector Inefficiency," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 135-147, 02.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7043

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Cited by:
  1. Pradeep Kautish, 2010. "Study On Impact Of Environmental Change On Selected Public Sector Enterprises In India," Romanian Economic Business Review, Romanian-American University, vol. 5(2), pages 68-88, June.
  2. Francisco Gallego, 2002. "Competencia y Resultados Educativos: Teoría y Evidencia para Chile," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 39(118), pages 309-352.
  3. J�nos Kornai & Eric Maskin & G�rard Roland, 2003. "Understanding the Soft Budget Constraint," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1095-1136, December.
  4. Ahmet Kara, 2009. "An applied stochastic model of the quality–quantity trade-off in the public health care sector," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 277-289, March.
  5. Catarina Figueira & Joseph Nellis & David Parker, 2009. "The effects of ownership on bank efficiency in Latin America," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(18), pages 2353-2368.
  6. Schnytzer, Adi & Andreyeva, Tatiana, 2002. "Company performance in Ukraine: is this a market economy?," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 83-98, June.
  7. Vahabi, Mehrdad, 2003. "La contrainte budgétaire lâche et la théorie économique
    [Soft Budget Constraint and Economic Theory]
    ," MPRA Paper 17651, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Bertero, Elisabetta & Rondi, Laura, 2002. "Hardening a Soft Budget Constraint Through 'Upward Devolution' to a Supranational Institution: The Case of Italian State-Owned Firms and the European Union," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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