Are regulations the answer for emerging stock markets? Evidence from the Czech Republic and Poland
Does the emergence of a stock market require a well-developed legal and/or regulatory system? Although historical work by Neal and Davis [Neal, L., & Davis, L. (2005). The evolution of the rules and regulations of the first emerging markets: The London, New York, and Paris stock exchanges, 1792-1914. Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, 45, 296-311] and Stringham [Stringham, E. (2003). The extralegal development of securities trading in seventeenth century Amsterdam. Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, 43, 321-344] suggests that securities markets have successfully developed with little government oversight, numerous authors [including Black, B. (2001). The legal and institutional preconditions for strong securities markets. University of California Law Angeles Law Review, 48, 781-855; Coffee, J. (1999). Privatization and corporate governance: The lessons from securities market failure. Journal of Corporation Law, 25, 1-39; Frye, T. (2000). Brokers and bureaucrats: Building market institutions in Russia. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press; Glaeser, E., Johnson, S., & Shleifer, A. (2001). Coase versus the Coasians. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 116, 853-899; Mlcoch, L. (2000). Restructuring of property rights: An institutional view. In L. Mlcoch et al. (Eds.), Economic and Social Changes in Czech Society After 1989. Prague: The Karolinum Press; Pistor, K. (2001). Law as a determinant for equity market development - the experience of transition economies. In Peter Murrell (Ed.), The Value of Law in Transition Economies (pp. 249-287). Ann Arbor: Michigan University Press; Stiglitz, J. (1999). Whither reform. Ten years of the transition. Keynote Address, Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics, Washington, DC, April 28-30, 1999; Zhang, X. (2006). Financial market governance in developing countries: Getting the political underpinnings right. Journal of Developing Societies, 2, 169-196] argue that the Czech Republic and other Eastern European governments need more regulation for their newly created stock markets. They maintain that the Warsaw Stock Exchange, which is seen as more regulated, has outperformed the Prague Stock Exchange which is seen as largely unregulated. Thus increased regulations are a key to increased performance. This article, however, maintains that the evidence from the Czech experience has been misinterpreted. This article provides an in depth case study of the Czech stock market and finds that (a) Czech capital markets have been hindered by government intervention from their beginning, (b) that the evidence on Poland's superior performance is not as strong as suggested, and (c) that Czech regulators seem to be unqualified, lack the proper incentives, and are unlikely to benefit the market. Under these circumstances it appears that Neal and Davis (2005:311) are correct that increased government involvement is unlikely to improve the situation.
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