Corruption in Chinese Privatizations
54 Pages Posted: 6 May 2014
Date Written: May 2014
We document evidence of corruption in Chinese state asset sales. These sales involved stakes in partially privatized firms, providing a benchmark - the price of publicly traded shares - to measure underpricing. Underpricing is correlated with deal attributes associated with misgovernance and corruption. Sales by "disguised" owners that misrepresent their state ownership to elude regulatory scrutiny are discounted 5-7 percentage points more than sales by other owners; related party transactions are similarly discounted. Analysis of subsequent operating performance provides suggestive evidence that aggregate ownership transfers improve profitability, though not in cases where the transfers themselves were corrupted.
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