Minority Rules: Credible State Ownership and Investment Risk Around the World
Forthcoming, Organization Science
48 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2016 Last revised: 11 Jan 2018
Date Written: October 1, 2017
Research in management and related fields largely assumes that host-country state (state) ownership in investment projects raises risk for private co-investors. We question that assumption in theorizing that minority state ownership may actually decrease investment risk in host countries where policy stability is low. Non-controlling but still substantial state ownership signals to private co-investors that states will maintain initial investment project terms, yet limit interference in project management under those same initial terms.
Analyses of 1373 investment projects announced in 95 host countries from 1990-2012 support this proposition:
1) low policy stability in the host country increases investment risk measured as the percentage of equity comprising all project capital funding on announcement date; but
2) minority state ownership diminishes the risk-increasing impact of low policy stability; and
3) the risk-diminishing effect is greatest when policy stability is low and the state holds from 21-30% of investment project equity.
Where permitted, private investors can use state ownership as a risk-reducing strategy in response to low policy stability. Our study highlights where these “minority rules” hold and state ownership signals credible assurance to private co-investors in less stable policy environments.
Keywords: state ownership, investment projects, risk management, policy stability
JEL Classification: F23, G38, K20, L33, M10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation