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Enterprise reform in China: agency problems and political control

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  • Yingyi Qian

Abstract

The past reforms of state-owned enterprises in China delegated many effective control rights to managers while maintaining ultimate control rights for the Party and government. The result is that either the agency costs are high because managers lack accountability or the political costs are high because the government causes political interference. Reform of state-owned enterprises in China should aim at reducing both political and agency costs, which can be done through depoliticization, effective corporate governance, and deserialization. In particular, China needs an ownership transformation with a combination of privatization, denationalization, and pluralization; a state assets management system to limit political influence from the government; and corporatization to establish effective corporate governance which may take a variety of forms. Copyright 1996 The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Suggested Citation

  • Yingyi Qian, 1996. "Enterprise reform in China: agency problems and political control," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 4(2), pages 427-447, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:etrans:v:4:y:1996:i:2:p:427-447
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 1-29, February.
    2. Kuan, Chen & Hongchang, Wang & Yuxin, Zheng & Jefferson, Gary H. & Rawski, Thomas G., 1988. "Productivity change in Chinese industry: 1953-1985," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 570-591, December.
    3. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Maxim Boycko & Marek Dabrowski & Rudiger Dornbusch & Richard Layard & Andrei Shleifer, 1993. "Post-Communist Reform: Pain and Progress," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262023628, March.
    4. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1992. "The Transition to a Market Economy: Pitfalls of Partial Reform," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 889-906.
    5. Theodore Groves & Yongmiao Hong & John McMillan & Barry Naughton, 1994. "Autonomy and Incentives in Chinese State Enterprises," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 183-209.
    6. Shang-Jin Wei, 1993. "Love and hate: state and non-state firms in transition economies," Pacific Basin Working Paper Series 93-10, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    7. David Lipton & Jeffrey Sachs, 1990. "Privitization in Eastern Europe: The Case of Poland," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 21(2), pages 293-342.
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