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The Chinese Corporate Savings Puzzle: A Firm-level Cross-Country Perspective

In: Capitalizing China

Author

Listed:
  • Tamim Bayoumi
  • Hui Tong
  • Shang-Jin Wei

Abstract

China's high corporate savings rate is commonly claimed to be a key driver for the country's large current account surplus. The mainstream explanation for high corporate savings is a combination of windfall profits in state-owned firms, especially in resource sectors, and mis-governance of state-owned firms represented by their low dividend payout. The paper casts doubt on these views by comparing the savings of 1557 Chinese listed firms with those of 29330 listed firms from 51 other countries over 2002 to 2007. First, Chinese firms do not have a significantly higher savings rate (as a share of total assets) than the global average because corporations in most countries have a high savings rate. The rising corporate savings rate is also consistent with a global trend. Second, there is no significant difference in the savings behavior and dividend patterns between Chinese majority state-owned and private listed firms, contrary to the received wisdom.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Tamim Bayoumi & Hui Tong & Shang-Jin Wei, 2012. "The Chinese Corporate Savings Puzzle: A Firm-level Cross-Country Perspective," NBER Chapters, in: Capitalizing China, pages 283-308, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:12074
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Eugene F. Fama & Kenneth R. French, 2001. "Disappearing Dividends: Changing Firm Characteristics Or Lower Propensity To Pay?," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 14(1), pages 67-79, March.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • F4 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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