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Insecure Property Rights and Government Ownership of Firms

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  • Jiahua Che
  • Yingyi Qian

Abstract

Forthcoming, Quarterly Journal of Economics, May 1998 We develop a theory of the ownership of firms in an environment without secure property rights against state encroachment. "Private ownership" leads to excessive revenue hiding and "state ownership" (i.e., national government ownership) fails to provide incentives for managers and local governments in a credible way. Because "local government ownership" integrates local government activities and business activities, local government may better serve the interests of the national government, and thus local government ownership may credibly limit state predation, increase local public goods provision, and reduce costly revenue hiding. We use our theory to interpret the relative success of local government-owned firms during China's transition to a market economy. Key Words: Property Rights, Ownership, State Predation, Local Government, Multi-Task, China

Suggested Citation

  • Jiahua Che & Yingyi Qian, "undated". "Insecure Property Rights and Government Ownership of Firms," Working Papers 97050, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:stanec:97050
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-1158, December.
    2. Yingyi Qian, 1996. "Enterprise reform in China: agency problems and political control," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 4(2), pages 427-447, October.
    3. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
    4. Hart, Oliver D, 1988. "Incomplete Contracts and the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 119-139, Spring.
    5. Oliver Hart & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. "The Proper Scope of Government: Theory and an Application to Prisons," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1127-1161.
    6. Schmidt, Klaus M, 1996. "The Costs and Benefits of Privatization: An Incomplete Contracts Approach," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 1-24, April.
    7. Che, Jiahua & Qian, Yingyi, 1998. "Institutional Environment, Community Government, and Corporate Governance: Understanding China's Township-Village Enterprises," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(1), pages 1-23, April.
    8. Hehui Jin & Yingyi Qian, 1998. "Public Versus Private Ownership of Firms: Evidence from Rural China," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 773-808.
    9. Chang Chun & Wang Yijiang, 1994. "The Nature of the Township-Village Enterprise," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 434-452, December.
    10. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1994. "The Firm as an Incentive System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 972-991, September.
    11. repec:hrv:faseco:30727607 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Greif, Avner & Milgrom, Paul & Weingast, Barry R, 1994. "Coordination, Commitment, and Enforcement: The Case of the Merchant Guild," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 745-776, August.
    13. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1994. "Politicians and Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 995-1025.
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