Strategic Public Shaming: Evidence from Chinese Antitrust

China Quarterly (Forthcoming)

21 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2017 Last revised: 6 Feb 2018

See all articles by Angela Huyue Zhang

Angela Huyue Zhang

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

Date Written: March 30, 2017


This article examines strategic public shaming, a novel form of regulatory tactic employed by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) during its enforcement of the Anti-Monopoly Law. Based on analysis of media coverage and interview findings, the study finds that the way the NDRC disclosed its investigation is highly strategic depending on the firm’s co-operative attitude toward the investigation. Event studies further show that the NDRC’s proactive disclosure resulted in significantly negative abnormal returns of the stock prices of firms subject to the disclosure. For instance, Biostime, an infant-formula manufacturer investigated in 2013, experienced -22% cumulative abnormal return in a three-day event window, resulting in a loss of market capitalization that is 27 times the ultimate antitrust fine it received. The NDRC’s strategic public shaming could therefore result in severe market sanction that deters firms from defying the agency.

Keywords: reputation, shaming, antitrust, competition, regulation

JEL Classification: K21, K22

Suggested Citation

Zhang, Angela Huyue, Strategic Public Shaming: Evidence from Chinese Antitrust (March 30, 2017). China Quarterly (Forthcoming), Available at SSRN: or

Angela Huyue Zhang (Contact Author)

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law ( email )

Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong, Hong Kong

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