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Performance of business groups: Evidence from post-crisis Russia

  • Shumilov, Andrei

    ()

    (BOFIT)

Transition economies like Russia lack properly functioning financial markets and institutions, which results in severe agency and information problems. Business groups in such markets have the potential to offer benefits to member firms, but they also may destroy value. Using a unique database on membership in Russian business groups, we analyze the relationship between group affiliation and firm performance on the basis of a large panel of manufacturing firms for the period 1999-2002. We find that group membership has a positive effect on productive efficiency, but gains from improved productivity in group affiliates do not adequately translate into higher profitability. This is consistent with the expropriation hypothesis, according to which controlling owners of groups extract private benefits by siphoning profits from their members. Among the different group categories delineated by type of controlling owner, the extent of profit dissipation is especially large in groups controlled by private domestic owners, who face a greater risk of possible future expropriation of property. Finally, we examine two potential sources of benefits of membership in business groups: mutual insurance among affiliated firms and preferential treatment from the state via subsidies and tolerated tax arrears. We find that, during the period studied, groups neither provided mutual insurance nor did they receive larger support from the state than unaffiliated firms. Together with findings from the previous literature indicating that, prior to the 1998 financial crisis, group firms benefited from more efficient allocation of capital within groups than in the rest of the economy but not after the crisis, our results suggest that the advantages of group membership recede as the economic and institutional environment gradually improves.

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File URL: http://www.suomenpankki.fi/bofit_en/tutkimus/tutkimusjulkaisut/dp/Documents/dp2408.pdf
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Paper provided by Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition in its series BOFIT Discussion Papers with number 24/2008.

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Length: 63 pages
Date of creation: 25 Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:bofitp:2008_024
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