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The Effect of Ownership Structure and Jurisdictional Governance on Productivity in Chinese Enterprises

  • Sean M. Dougherty

    ()

    (The Conference Board)

  • Robert H. McGuckin

    (The Conference Board)

This study offers empirical evidence about how the structure of government and private ownership affects productivity in Chinese firms. It uses the microdata of China’s most recent decennial industrial census, covering all of the 23,000 large and medium industrial firms operating in China during 1995. The results show that government decentralization – “federalism” – plays an important role in improving the performance of not just collective firms, but also state-owned and mixed public/private ownership firms. This result is strongly confirmatory of much of the recent theoretical work on transition economies that posits a key role for government in the efficient operation of markets. Privatization makes a big difference in performance for firms administered at the federal level, especially state-owned enterprises. Private ownership also makes a large difference for wholly foreign-owned firms, nearly all located in special districts. In local jurisdictions, however, there is little difference in productivity across the various nonstate ownership types, supporting the argument that the regulatory environment played a critical role in successful business performance.

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Paper provided by The Conference Board, Economics Program in its series Economics Program Working Papers with number 02-01.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2001
Date of revision: Jan 2002
Publication status: Published in Management and Organization Review, Vol. 4, No. 1, March 2008, pp. 39-61.
Handle: RePEc:cnf:wpaper:0201
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  1. Li, David D., 1996. "A Theory of Ambiguous Property Rights in Transition Economies: The Case of the Chinese Non-State Sector," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 1-19, August.
  2. Alwyn Young, 2000. "The Razor'S Edge: Distortions And Incremental Reform In The People'S Republic Of China," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1091-1135, November.
  3. Qian, Yingyi & Roland, Gerard, 1998. "Federalism and the Soft Budget Constraint," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1143-62, December.
  4. Barberis, Nicholas & Boycko, Maxim & Shleifer, Andrei & Tsukanova, Natalia, 1996. "How Does Privatization Work? Evidence from the Russian Shops," Scholarly Articles 3451306, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Jefferson, Gary H. & Rawski, Thomas G. & Zheng, Yuxin, 1996. "Chinese Industrial Productivity: Trends, Measurement Issues, and Recent Developments," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 146-180, October.
  6. James R. Tybout, 2000. "Manufacturing Firms in Developing Countries: How Well Do They Do, and Why?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 11-44, March.
  7. Li, Shaomin & Li, Shuhe & Zhang, Weiying, 2000. "The Road to Capitalism: Competition and Institutional Change in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 269-292, June.
  8. Dilip Mookherjee & Pranab K. Bardhan, 2000. "Capture and Governance at Local and National Levels," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 135-139, May.
  9. Mark Doms & Eric J. Bartelsman, 2000. "Understanding Productivity: Lessons from Longitudinal Microdata," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 569-594, September.
  10. Alwyn Young, 2000. "The Razor's Edge: Distortions and Incremental Reform in the People's Republic of China," NBER Working Papers 7828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Wing Thye Woo, 2000. "Understanding china's economic performance," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(1), pages 1-50.
  12. Litwack, John M. & Qian, Yingyi, 1998. "Balanced or Unbalanced Development: Special Economic Zones as Catalysts for Transition," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 117-141, March.
  13. 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.
  14. Lin, Justin Yifu & Cai, Fang & Li, Zhou, 1998. "Competition, Policy Burdens, and State-Owned Enterprise Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 422-27, May.
  15. Robert H Mcguckin & Bradford J Jensen, 1996. "Firm Performance And Evolution Empirical Regularities In The U.S. Microdata," Working Papers 96-10, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  16. Woo Wing Thye & Hai Wen & Jin Yibiao & Fan Gang, 1994. "How Successful Has Chinese Enterprise Reform Been? Pitfalls in Opposite Biases and Focus," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 410-437, June.
  17. Zhang, Anming & Zhang, Yimin & Zhao, Ronald, 2001. "Impact of Ownership and Competition on the Productivity of Chinese Enterprises," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 327-346, June.
  18. David D. Li, 1996. "A Theory of Ambiguous Property Rights in Transition Economies: The Case of the Chinese Non-State Sector," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 8, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  19. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Wing Thye Woo & Xiaokai Yang, 2000. "Economic Reforms and Constitutional Transition," CID Working Papers 43, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  20. Jiahua Che & Yingyi Qian, . "Institutional Environment, Community Government, and Corporate Governance: Understanding China's Township-Village Enterprises," Working Papers 97043, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  21. Xu, Xiaonian & Wang, Yan, 1999. "Ownership structure and corporate governance in Chinese stock companies," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 75-98.
  22. 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.
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