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Hardened Budgets and Enterprise Restructuring: Theory and an Application to Romania

  • Coricelli, Fabrizio
  • Djankov, Simeon

We identify the presence of soft budgets and analyse their impact on enterprise restructuring in Romania over the initial transition period. A simple analytical framework is developed to show that hardened budget constraints foster rationalization of costs, but not active restructuring. The latter requires availability of external financing. The model emphasises the importance of the credibility of hard budgets. The empirical findings are consistent with the predictions of the model. Using a sample of over 4,000 Romanian enterprises during 1992-95, we show that hardened budget constraints induce labour shedding. There is no evidence of positive effects on active restructuring, which we define as new investments.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Comparative Economics.

Volume (Year): 29 (2001)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 749-763

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:29:y:2001:i:4:p:749-763
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  1. Roman Frydman & Cheryl Gray & Marek Hessel & Andrzej Rapaczynski, 1999. "When Does Privatization Work? The Impact Of Private Ownership On Corporate Performance In The Transition Economies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1153-1191, November.
  2. Kornai, Janos, 1998. "The Concept of the Soft Budget Constraint Syndrome in Economic Theory," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 11-17, March.
  3. Claessens, Stijn & Djankov, Simeon, 1999. "Enterprise performance and management turnover in the Czech Republic," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 1115-1124, April.
  4. Djankov, Simeon, 1999. "The Enterprise Isolation Program in Romania," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 281-293, June.
  5. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1994. "Politicians and Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 995-1025, November.
  6. Claessens, Stijn & Djankov, Simeon, 1998. "Politicians and firms in seven central and eastern European countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1954, The World Bank.
  7. Eric S. Maskin, 1999. "Recent Theoretical Work on the Soft Budget Constraint," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 421-425, May.
  8. Groves, Theodore & Yongmiao Hong & John McMillan & Barry Naughton, 1995. "China's Evolving Managerial Labor Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 873-92, August.
  9. Anderson, James H. & Korsun, Georges & Murrell, Peter, 2000. "Which Enterprises (Believe They) Have Soft Budgets? Evidence on the Effects of Ownership and Decentralization in Mongolia," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 219-246, June.
  10. Djankov, Simeon & Murrell, Peter, 2002. "Enterprise Restructuring in Transition: A Quantitative Survey," CEPR Discussion Papers 3319, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Li, David D. & Liang, Minsong, 1998. "Causes of the Soft Budget Constraint: Evidence on Three Explanations," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 104-116, March.
  12. Schaffer, Mark E., 1998. "Do Firms in Transition Economies Have Soft Budget Constraints? A Reconsideration of Concepts and Evidence," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 80-103, March.
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