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State Capitalism vs. Private Enterprise

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  • Alexander Ljungqvist
  • Donghua Chen
  • Dequan Jiang
  • Haitian Lu
  • Mingming Zhou

Abstract

We study the efficiency of capital allocations at state-controlled and privately owned business groups in China. Using highly granular data on within-group capital transfers, we document stark differences: while private groups allocate more capital to units with better investment opportunities, state groups do the opposite, especially when part of the “national team.” Minority shareholders in state owned enterprises suffer as a result. External monitoring by outside investors helps discipline state groups’ tendency to ignore investment opportunities. We trace capital allocation decisions to the objectives of the Chinese Communist Party, which incentivizes managers to maintain social stability. Consistent with the party’s policy preferences, capital allocations are used to prop up struggling employers in high-unemployment areas and when many young men enter the local labor market, but the interests of the party and of managers may be misaligned.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander Ljungqvist & Donghua Chen & Dequan Jiang & Haitian Lu & Mingming Zhou, 2015. "State Capitalism vs. Private Enterprise," NBER Working Papers 20930, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20930
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    Cited by:

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    2. Carpenter, Jennifer N. & Lu, Fangzhou & Whitelaw, Robert F., 2018. "The real value of China’s stock market," BOFIT Discussion Papers 2/2018, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
    3. Allen, Franklin & Qian, Yiming & Tu, Guoqian & Yu, Frank, 2018. "Entrusted Loans: A Close Look at China’s Shadow Banking System," CEPR Discussion Papers 12864, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Clemens Fuest & Li Liu, 2015. "Does ownership affect the impact of taxes on firm behaviour? Evidence from China," Working Papers 1505, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
    5. Chen, Hongyi & Li, Ran & Tillmann, Peter, 2019. "Pushing on a string: State-owned enterprises and monetary policy transmission in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 26-40.
    6. Jiani Li & Jie Li & Tianhang Zhou, 2023. "State ownership and zombie firms: Evidence from China's 2008 stimulus plan," Economics of Transition and Institutional Change, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 31(4), pages 853-876, October.
    7. Carpenter, Jennifer N. & Lu, Fangzhou & Whitelaw, Robert F., 2018. "The real value of China's stock market," BOFIT Discussion Papers 2/2018, Bank of Finland Institute for Emerging Economies (BOFIT).
    8. Giacinta Cestone & Chiara Fumagalli & Francis Kramaz & Giovanni Pica, 2015. "Insurance Between Firms: The Role of Internal Labor Markets," CSEF Working Papers 386, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 22 Jan 2020.
    9. Cheung, Yan-Leung & Rau, P. Raghavendra & Stouraitis, Aris & Tan, Weiqiang, 2021. "Does the market understand the ex ante risk of expropriation by controlling shareholders?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
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    11. Carpenter, Jennifer N. & Lu, Fangzhou & Whitelaw, Robert F., 2021. "The real value of China’s stock market," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 139(3), pages 679-696.
    12. Anderson, Ronald W., 2021. "Stake-holder firms and the reform of local public finance in China," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 118892, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    13. Howell, Sabrina T., 2018. "Joint ventures and technology adoption: A Chinese industrial policy that backfired," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(8), pages 1448-1462.
    14. Tang, Le, 2021. "Investment dynamics and capital distortion: State and non-state firms in China," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C).
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    16. Giacinta Cestone & Chiara Fumagalli & Francis Kramaz & Giovanni Pica, 2015. "Insurance Between Firms: The Role of Internal Labor Markets," CSEF Working Papers 386, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 22 Jan 2020.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • P1 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Capitalist Economies
    • P31 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Socialist Enterprises and Their Transitions

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