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Incentive contracting versus ownership reforms: evidence from China's township and village enterprises

  • Chang, Chun
  • McCall, Brian P.
  • Wang, Yijiang

We use a unique data set to study the implications of introducing managerial incentives and, in addition to incentives, better defined ownership for a firm's financial performance. The data set traces the ten-year history of 80 Chinese rural enterprises, known as township and village enterprises. During this period, these originally (mostly) community owned, local government controlled socialist collective firms were first allowed to introduce managerial incentive contracts and then to change to ownership forms of more clearly defined income and control rights. The study finds that introducing managerial incentives had a positive but statistically insignificant effect on these firms' performance measured by accounting return on assets or return on equity. It also finds that the performance is significantly better under ownership forms of better-defined rights than under community ownership even when the latter is supplemented with managerial incentive contracts. The findings shed lights on some important theoretical and policy issues. Classification-JEL:

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

Volume (Year): 31 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 414-428

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:31:y:2003:i:3:p:414-428
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622864

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  1. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver, 1985. "The Cost and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," CEPR Discussion Papers 70, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Groves, Theodore, et al, 1994. "Autonomy and Incentives in Chinese State Enterprises," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 183-209, February.
  3. Jiahua Che & Yingyi Qian, 1998. "Institutional Environment, Community Government, and Corporate Governance: Understanding China's Township-Village Enterprises," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 59, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  4. Williamson, Oliver E, 1979. "Transaction-Cost Economics: The Governance of Contractural Relations," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 233-61, October.
  5. Pranab Bardhan & John E. Roemer, 1992. "Market Socialism: A Case for Rejuvenation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 101-116, Summer.
  6. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
  7. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-58, December.
  8. M Weitzman & Cheng-Gang Xu, 1993. "Chinese township village enterprises as vaguely defined cooperations," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3754, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  9. Alchian, Armen A & Demsetz, Harold, 1972. "Production , Information Costs, and Economic Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 777-95, December.
  10. Gary H. Jefferson & Thomas G. Rawski, 1994. "Enterprise Reform in Chinese Industry," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 47-70, Spring.
  11. 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.
  12. repec:reg:rpubli:398 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Chang Chun & Wang Yijiang, 1994. "The Nature of the Township-Village Enterprise," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 434-452, December.
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