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The unfinished business of state-owned enterprise reform in the People's Republic of China


  • Carsten A. Holz


This paper examines the progress of state-owned enterprise (SOE) reform in the People’s Republic of China. After defining SOEs and considering their scope of operation within the PRC economy, the focus of the paper is on the major reform waves that followed the deterioration of SOE profitability in the early 1990s. The oil industry serves to illustrate industry-specific SOE reform trends as well as the latest reform developments. Until today, a stable, successful, longterm arrangement of state ownership has remained elusive. SOE reform is incomplete as long as a number of fundamental governance issues are not resolved. But these are difficult to resolve in the context of Party-controlled state-owned enterprises.

Suggested Citation

  • Carsten A. Holz, 2019. "The unfinished business of state-owned enterprise reform in the People's Republic of China," CESifo Working Paper Series 7688, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_7688

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Brandt, Loren & Zhu, Xiaodong, 2010. "Accounting for China's Growth," IZA Discussion Papers 4764, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. McNally Christopher A., 2002. "Strange Bedfellows: Communist Party Institutions and New Governance Mechanisms in Chinese State Holding Corporations," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-26, April.
    3. W. Raphael Lam & Alfred Schipke & Yuyan Tan & Zhibo Tan, 2017. "Resolving China's Zombies: Tackling Debt and Raising Productivity," IMF Working Papers 17/266, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Paul H. Malatesta & Kathryn L. DeWenter, 2001. "State-Owned and Privately Owned Firms: An Empirical Analysis of Profitability, Leverage, and Labor Intensity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 320-334, March.
    5. McNally, Christopher A., 2002. "Strange Bedfellows: Communist Party Institutions and New Governance Mechanisms in Chinese State Holding Corporations," Business and Politics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(01), pages 91-115, April.
    6. Nicholas R. Lardy, 2014. "Markets over Mao: The Rise of Private Business in China," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 6932.
    7. Xu, Xiaonian & Wang, Yan, 1999. "Ownership structure and corporate governance in Chinese stock companies," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 75-98.
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    More about this item


    state-owned enterprise reform; People’s Republic of China; corporate governance; public enterprise management; Chinese Communist Party; state-owned asset management; industrial policy;

    JEL classification:

    • P00 - Economic Systems - - General - - - General
    • P31 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Socialist Enterprises and Their Transitions
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy
    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • L32 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Public Enterprises; Public-Private Enterprises
    • O25 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Industrial Policy
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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