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Debt as a control device in transitional economies : the experiences of Hungary and Poland

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  • Baer, Herbert L.
  • Gray, Cheryl W.
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    Abstract

    The basic economic challenge in the transition from socialism to capitalism is creating incentive structures and institutions that promote enterprise change and restructuring. This is the motivation for most of the reforms debated during the transition - whether privatization, demonopolization, trade reform, or financial sector reform. Most research on corporate governance and privatization has focused on the role of owners - whether on the problems inherent in the separation of ownership and management (most Western literature) or on the need for true owners who represents the interests of capital (most literature on transition economies). But debt is also an important control device, as Western literature on corporate finance increasingly recognizes. The authors explore debt's role as a control device in transition economies, focusing especially on Hungary and Poland, which are relatively far along in the reform process. They ask, first, in what ways creditors exert control over firms in advanced market economies and how such control interacts with that exerted by equity holders. They then ask whether creditors in Central and Eastern European countries play similar roles and, if not, what roles they should play, and what can be done to give them the capacity and incentives to play those roles. They focus on three fundamental requirements for debt to function as a control device: information, proper incentives for creditors (including banks, suppliers, and government), and an efficient legal framework for debt collection (including collateral, workout, and bankruptcy regimes). While both countries are making progress in all three areas, there is still much to be done. Hungary and Poland illustrate only two of many approaches. Other transitional economies, such as the Czech Republic, Estonia, and Russia, are following different approaches that should be explored in future analysis.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1480.

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    Date of creation: 30 Jun 1995
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    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1480

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    Keywords: International Terrorism&Counterterrorism; Banks&Banking Reform; Payment Systems&Infrastructure; Environmental Economics&Policies; Financial Intermediation; Banks&Banking Reform; Environmental Economics&Policies; Financial Intermediation; Financial Crisis Management&Restructuring; Housing Finance;

    References

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    1. Philippe Aghion & Oliver D. Hart & John Moore, 1994. "The Economics of Bankruptcy Reform," NBER Chapters, in: The Transition in Eastern Europe, Volume 2: Restructuring, pages 215-244 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. J Bonin & M Schaffer, 1995. "Banks, Firms, Bad Debts and Bankruptcy in Hungary 1991-4," CEP Discussion Papers dp0234, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    3. George A. Akerlof & Paul M. Romer, 1993. "Looting: The Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Profit," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(2), pages 1-74.
    4. Takeo Hoshi & Anil Kashyap & David Scharfstein, 1990. "The Role of Banks in Reducing the Costs of Financial Distress in Japan," NBER Working Papers 3435, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Diamond, Douglas W, 1991. "Debt Maturity Structure and Liquidity Risk," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(3), pages 709-37, August.
    6. Gilson, Stuart C., 1990. "Bankruptcy, boards, banks, and blockholders : Evidence on changes in corporate ownership and control when firms default," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 355-387, October.
    7. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1992. " Liquidation Values and Debt Capacity: A Market Equilibrium Approach," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1343-66, September.
    8. Ronald I. McKinnon, 1991. "Financial Control in the Transition from Classical Socialism to a Market Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 107-122, Fall.
    9. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1991. " The Theory of Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(1), pages 297-355, March.
    10. Stewart C. Myers, 1989. "Still searching for optimal capital structure," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 33, pages 80-105.
    11. Colin Mayer, 1990. "Financial Systems, Corporate Finance, and Economic Development," NBER Chapters, in: Asymmetric Information, Corporate Finance, and Investment, pages 307-332 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Gilson, Stuart C., 1989. "Management turnover and financial distress," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 241-262, December.
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    Cited by:
    1. Judy Day & Peter Taylor, 2004. "Institutional Change and Debt-based Corporate Governance: A Comparative Analysis of Four Transition Economies," Journal of Management and Governance, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 73-115, March.
    2. J Bonin & M Schaffer, 1995. "Banks, Firms, Bad Debts and Bankruptcy in Hungary 1991-4," CEP Discussion Papers dp0234, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    3. Debora Revoltella, 2001. "Financing Enterprises in the Czech Republic: Debt and Firm-specific Variables," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 231-246, October.
    4. Gray, Cheryl & Schlorke, Sabine & Szanyi, Miklos, 1995. "Hungary's bankruptcy experience, 1992-93," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1510, The World Bank.

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