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Why privatize or why not? Empirical evidence from China's SOEs reform

Listed author(s):
  • Tong, Sarah Y.

Using a firm-level panel dataset which covers over 50,000 state-owned enterprises (SOEs) across China for the years 1998 to 2003, we attempt to answer the question of why some SOEs are privatized while others remain under state control. By applying a Heckman two-stage procedure, we investigate the causes that determine SOE privatization outcome. We find that the factors most conducive for privatization are the rise of competition, the increase of FDI concentration of both industries and provinces, and the hardening of SOEs' budget constraints. Moreover, it is shown that relatively better performing SOEs, measured by per employee value-added, profitability, and export propensity, are more prone to privatization. However, we should be careful in interpreting this result, due to the problem of selection bias. Results of the first-stage selection equation suggest that many small and non-performing SOEs dropped out of the sample, possibility due to privatization. What we can conclude is that, among the remainders, the better performing SOEs are more likely to be privatized.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1043-951X(09)00083-2
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal China Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 20 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 402-413

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Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:20:y:2009:i:3:p:402-413
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/chieco

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  1. Dougherty, Sean & Herd, Richard & He, Ping, 2007. "Has a private sector emerged in China's industry? Evidence from a quarter of a million Chinese firms," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 309-334.
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  5. Nandini Gupta & John C. Ham & Jan Svejnar, 2000. "Priorities and Sequencing in Privatization: Theory and Evidence from the Czech Republic," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 323, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  6. Alwyn Young, 2000. "The Razor's Edge: Distortions and Incremental Reform in the People's Republic of China," NBER Working Papers 7828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Imai, Ken'ichi, 2006. "Explaining the Persistence of State-ownership in China," IDE Discussion Papers 64, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
  8. Guoqiang Tian, 2001. "A Theory of Ownership Arrangements and Smooth Transition," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 157(3), pages 380-380, September.
  9. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1994. "Politicians and Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 995-1025.
  10. Alwyn Young, 2000. "The Razor's Edge: Distortions and Incremental Reform in the People's Republic of China," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1091-1135.
  11. Li, Shaomin & Li, Shuhe & Zhang, Weiying, 2000. "The Road to Capitalism: Competition and Institutional Change in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 269-292, June.
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