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Does a switch of budget regimes affect investment and managerial discretion of state-owned enterprises?: evidence from Italian firms

Bertero, Elisabetta and Rondi, Laura (2002) Does a switch of budget regimes affect investment and managerial discretion of state-owned enterprises?: evidence from Italian firms. Journal of Comparative Economics, 30 (4). pp. 836-863. ISSN 0147-5967

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Abstract

We investigate the investment decisions of Italian state-owned enterprises (SOEs) across budget constraint regimes and carry out a natural experiment that exploits a regime switch in 1987. Drawing on the theory of capital market imperfections, we apply an empirical framework for investment analysis to a panel of manufacturing SOEs in competitive industries. We identify parallels between SOEs and widely held, quoted companies afflicted by agency problems, managerial discretion, and overinvestment. We argue that, in the case of SOEs, the soft budget regime increases managerial discretion, facilitates collusion with vote-seeking politicians, and results in wasteful investment. Consistent with our predictions, we find that the regime switch disciplines SOE's investment behavior. Following a hardening of the budget constraint, managers lose discretion to indulge in collusion and overinvestment.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescriptio...
Additional Information: © 2002 Association for Comparative Economic Studies
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Journal of Economic Literature Classification System: E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics > E3 - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles > E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
G - Financial Economics > G3 - Corporate Finance and Governance > G31 - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
G - Financial Economics > G3 - Corporate Finance and Governance > G32 - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure
L - Industrial Organization > L3 - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise > L32 - Public Enterprises
M - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting > M4 - Accounting and Auditing > M40 - General
Sets: Departments > Finance
Collections > Economists Online
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2008 14:44
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/18303/

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