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Rent Seeking and Government Ownership of Firms: An Application to China’s Township-Village Enterprises

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  • Jihua Che

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Abstract

Using its control of regulated inputs, a government agency extracts rents from a manager who undertakes an investment. Such government rent-seeking activity leads to a typical hold-up problem. Government ownership serves as a second-best commitment mechanism, through which the government agency will restrain itself from the rent-seeking activity and may even offer the manager assistance in the form of tax breaks and subsidies. This mechanism works at a cost, however, as government ownership also compromises ex post managerial incentives and creates distortion in resource allocation. Nevertheless, government ownership Pareto dominates private ownership under certain conditions. These conditions correspond to a host of stylized empirical observations concerning local government-owned firms, i.e., township-village enterprises, during China’s transition to a market economy.

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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 497.

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Length: 59 pages
Date of creation: 01 Jan 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2002-497

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Keywords: Government Rent Seeking; Ownership of Firms; Township and Village Enterprises; China;

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  1. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1997. "A Theory of Misgovernance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1289-1332, November.
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  9. Jiahua Che, 2000. "From the Grabbing Hand to the Helping Hand," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 58, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
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Cited by:
  1. Perotti, Enrico, 2004. "State ownership - a residual role?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3407, The World Bank.
  2. Boudewijn Bouckaert, 2007. "Bureaupreneurs in China: we did it our way," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 169-195, April.
  3. Alexandra Reppegather & Manuela Troschke, 2006. "Graduelle Transformation von Wirtschaftsordnungen: Ein Vergleich der Reformstrategien Chinas und Usbekistans," Working Papers 260, Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (Institute for East and South-East European Studies).
  4. Ahrens, Joachim & Jünemann, Patrick, 2010. "Transitional institutions, institutional complementarities and economic performance in China: A 'Varieties of Capitalism' approach," Discourses in Social Market Economy 2010-11, OrdnungsPolitisches Portal (OPO).
  5. Li, Hongbin & Meng, Lingsheng & Wang, Qian & Zhou, Li-An, 2008. "Political connections, financing and firm performance: Evidence from Chinese private firms," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 283-299, October.
  6. Faqin Lin & Can Huang & Xiaobo He & Chao Zhang, 2013. "Do more highly educated entrepreneurs matter?," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 27(2), pages 104-116, November.
  7. Jiahua Che, 2003. "The Life Cycle of Government Ownership," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2003-627, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  8. Ito, Junichi, 2006. "Economic and institutional reform packages and their impact on productivity: A case study of Chinese township and village enterprises," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 167-190, March.

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