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Enterprise Restructuring and Firm Performance: A Comparison of Rural and Urban Enterprises in Jiangsu Province

  • Xiao-yuan Dong
  • Louis Putterman
  • Bulent Unel

We examine the contrast in the experience of ownership reforms between urban SOEs and rural TVEs using a panel of industrial enterprises in Nanjing municipality for the period from 1994 to 2001. Our objectives are twofold. First, we study how the reform program of “grasp the large and let go of the small” has been carried out in practice by comparing the patterns of enterprise restructuring in the SOEs and the TVEs. Second, we investigate how the alternative reform strategy has affected firm performance in terms of the growth of labor productivity, total factor productivity (TFP), profitability, and worker earnings. We find a sharp contrast in the reform strategies of the SOEs and TVEs in two respects. First, the changes in the SOE sector were more gradual and involved more limited transfer of property rights than did the reform of the TVEs. Secondly, the reforms in both sectors exhibited selection bias but in opposite directions, with worse performing ones being the principal targets of reforms, among SOEs, and better performing enterprises being more likely to be picked for privatization, among TVEs. Our analysis discerns strikingly strong, robust positive effects of ownership restructuring on the growth of labor productivity, TFP and profitability in the reformed SOEs, indicating that the evolutionary reform policy for the SOEs has successfully reversed the trends of declining productivity and profits in these enterprises in Nanjing. We also find that among reformed urban enterprises, those in which private ownership accounts for less than 50% of shares performed better than those in which the majority of shares are owned privately. We find mixed evidence for the TVEs: privatization had no effect on firm performance in a group fixed-effects model but significant, positive effects in a firm fixed-effects model.

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Paper provided by William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan in its series William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series with number 2004-668.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 01 Mar 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2004-668
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  1. Samuel Ho & Paul Bowles & Xiaoyuan Dong, 2003. "'Letting Go of the Small': An Analysis of the Privatisation of Rural Enterprises in Jiangsu and Shandong," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(4), pages 1-26.
  2. Park, Albert & Shen, Minggao, 2003. "Joint liability lending and the rise and fall of China's township and village enterprises," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 497-531, August.
  3. G�rard Roland, 2002. "The Political Economy of Transition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 29-50, Winter.
  4. Roman Frydman & Cheryl Gray & Marek Hessel & Andrzej Rapaczynski, 1999. "When Does Privatization Work? The Impact Of Private Ownership On Corporate Performance In The Transition Economies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1153-1191, November.
  5. Jefferson, Gary H & Rawski, Thomas G & Yuxin, Zheng, 1992. "Growth, Efficiency, and Convergence in China's State and Collective Industry," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(2), pages 239-66, January.
  6. Qian Sun & Wilson H. S. Tong & Jing Tong, 2002. "How Does Government Ownership Affect Firm Performance? Evidence from China's Privatization Experience," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(1&2), pages 1-27.
  7. Michael Alexeev, 1999. "The effect of privatization on wealth distribution in Russia," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 7(2), pages 449-465, July.
  8. Jefferson, Gary & Hu, Albert G. Z. & Guan, Xiaojing & Yu, Xiaoyun, 2003. "Ownership, performance, and innovation in China's large- and medium-size industrial enterprise sector," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 89-113.
  9. Li, Hongbin, 2003. "Government's budget constraint, competition, and privatization: evidence from China's rural industry," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 486-502, September.
  10. Jan Svejnar, 2002. "Transition Economies: Performance and Challenges," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 3-28, Winter.
  11. Loren Brandt & Hongbin Li, 2002. "Bank Discrimination in Transition Economies: Ideology, Information or Incentives?," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 517, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
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