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Creative Destruction or Destructive Perpetuation: The Role of Large State-owned Enterprises and SMEs in Romania During Transition

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  • Rudiger Ahrend
  • Joaquim Oliveira Martins

Abstract

In this article we investigate the role both the old large enterprises sector and the new SME sector have played during transition in Romania. In the first part, based on micro data for the large SOE sector, we document how heavily loss-making enterprises have been able to survive for a decade, through initially direct and later increasingly indirect subsidies from the state. We show concretely how the 'survival of the unfittest' has led to the emergence of pervasive chains of arrears in the economy, with large negative consequences not only for the budget and state-owned energy suppliers but also for general economic efficiency. We thus show that the lagging privatisation of large SOEs has had negative systemic effects on the Romanian economy, well beyond the question of increased enterprise efficiency. In the second part we show that--in spite of the drain of resources from the large SOEs and a difficult business climate--a sector of SMEs has emerged that has been the main contributor to employment and export growth in recent years. However, the development of the SME sector has been severely constrained by the aforementioned negative forces, as documented by its underdevelopment in comparison with those of other Eastern European transition countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Rudiger Ahrend & Joaquim Oliveira Martins, 2003. "Creative Destruction or Destructive Perpetuation: The Role of Large State-owned Enterprises and SMEs in Romania During Transition," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(3), pages 331-356.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:pocoec:v:15:y:2003:i:3:p:331-356
    DOI: 10.1080/1463137032000139043
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Simeon Djankov & Peter Murrell, 2002. "Enterprise Restructuring in Transition: A Quantitative Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(3), pages 739-792, September.
    2. Neven, Damien J, 1994. "Trade Liberalization with Eastern Nations. How Sensitive?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1000, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Djankov, Simeon, 1999. "The Enterprise Isolation Program in Romania," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 281-293, June.
    4. Aleh Tsyvinski & Martin Petri & Günther Taube, 2002. "Energy Sector Quasi-Fiscal Activities in the Countries of the Former Soviet Union," IMF Working Papers 02/60, International Monetary Fund.
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    Cited by:

    1. Núria Rodríguez-Planas, 2007. "What Works Best For Getting the Unemployed Back to Work: Employment Services or Small-Business Assistance Programs? Evidence from Romania," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 712.07, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    2. Surubaru, Alina, 2007. "Dress for success? Entrepreneurial careers in the Romanian garment industry," economic sociology_the european electronic newsletter, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, vol. 8(2), pages 18-24.
    3. Yi Zhou & Canfei He & Shengjun Zhu, 2015. "Does Creative Destruction Work for Chinese Regions? An Empirical Study on the Articulation between Firm Exit and Entry," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1522, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Jul 2015.
    4. Núria Rodríguez-Planas, 2010. "Channels through which Public Employment Services and Small Business Assistance Programmes Work," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 72(4), pages 458-485, August.

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