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Decentralized Financing, Centralized Financing and the Dual Track System: Toward a New Theory of Soft Budget Constraints

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  • Jiahua Che

Abstract

I put forward a new theoretical framework to analyze the relationship between soft budget constraint syndrome and the economic performances of firms. It differs from the existing theoretical framework, à la Dewatripont and Maskin (1995), in the soft budget constraint literature. In this paper, soft budget constraint syndrome arises when firms that are expected to lose money are financed. The paper highlights a trade-off between hard and soft budget constraints. While soft budget constraints may compromise firms' incentives to improve performances, an all-out effort to harden budget constraints may put macro stability at risk, especially for economies suffering from allocative inefficiency. Based on this trade-off, the paper shows that a transition from centralized financing to decentralized financing in fact compromises firms' incentives to improve their performances, whereas a transition from centralized financing to a dual track system enhances efficiency. In the dual track system, budget constraints are soft in the centralized track but the macro stability of the economy is assured as a result. The macro stability enhances the disciplinary effect of hard budget constraints in the decentralized track, which in turn promotes firms' incentives to improve performances. The paper sheds light on a complementary relation between soft budget constraint syndrome in the state sector (i.e., the centralized track) and the remarkable growth of the non-state sector (i.e., the decentralized track) in China.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan in its series William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series with number 261.

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Length: pages
Date of creation: 01 Jun 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2000-261

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Keywords: soft budget constraints; pecuniary externality; financial dual track; China's state sector and non-state sector;

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  1. Lawrence J. Lau & Yingyi Qian & Gerard Roland, 2000. "Reform without Losers: An Interpretation of China's Dual-Track Approach to Transition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(1), pages 120-143, February.
  2. Berglof Erik & Roland Gerard, 1995. "Bank Restructuring and Soft Budget Constraints in Financial Transition," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 354-375, December.
  3. Neher, Darwin V, 1999. "Staged Financing: An Agency Perspective," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 255-74, April.
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  6. Blanchard, Olivier & Kremer, Michael R., 1997. "Disorganization," Scholarly Articles 3659691, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Qian, Yingyi & Roland, Gerard, 1998. "Federalism and the Soft Budget Constraint," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1143-62, December.
  8. Berglof, Erik & Roland, Gerard, 1997. "Soft budget constraints and credit crunches in financial transition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 807-817, April.
  9. Roland, Gérard & Verdier, Thierry, 1997. "Transition and the Output Fall," CEPR Discussion Papers 1636, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  12. Mathias Dewatripont & Eric Maskin, 2004. "Credit and efficiency in centralized and decentralized economies," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9605, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  13. Berglof, Erik & Roland, Gerard, 1998. "Soft Budget Constraints and Banking in Transition Economies," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 18-40, March.
  14. McMillan, John & Naughton, Barry, 1992. "How to Reform a Planned Economy: Lessons from China," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(1), pages 130-43, Spring.
  15. Ilya R. Segal, 1998. "Monopoly and Soft Budget Constraint," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(3), pages 596-609, Autumn.
  16. Eric Maskin & Chenggang Xu, 2001. "Soft budget constraint theories: From centralization to the market," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 9(1), pages 1-27, March.
  17. Lindbeck, Assar & Weibull, Jorgen W, 1988. "Altruism and Time Consistency: The Economics of Fait Accompli," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1165-82, December.
  18. Guofu Tan & Justin Yifu Lin, 1999. "Policy Burdens, Accountability, and the Soft Budget Constraint," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 426-431, May.
  19. Guillermo Calvo & Fabrizio Coricelli, 1992. "Output Collapse in Eastern Europe," IMF Working Papers 92/64, International Monetary Fund.
  20. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Maskin, Eric & Xu, Cheng-Gang, 2001. "Soft Budget Constraint Theories: From Centralization to the Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 2715, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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