Theses Doctoral

Essays on Bank Lending, Industrial Policy, and Firm Performance

Qu, Qiuying

This dissertation analyzes the effect of politically motivated bank lending and industrial policy on firm performance. It first studies zombies firms and political influence on bank lending in China. Zombie firms---indebted firms that are unprofitable and depend on banks or government bailouts for continued operation---are a drag on the economies in which they operate. The existence of zombie firms has been attributed to banks continuing to provide forbearance lending for their own interests. But local political officials may also contribute to keeping zombie firms alive, even in settings without the pressures of electoral cycles. Studying loans in China, I examine how bank lending is influenced by local officials and tracks their appointment cycle. I find that there is significant targeting of firms: lending to zombie firms increases in local officials' last service year and exhibits an increasing trend across the appointment cycle, while lending to non-zombie firms shrinks in the last service year and decreases across the cycle. I also find that influence is selective: local officials pressure small local banks more to lend to unprofitable firms, but their ability to affect large nationally operated banks appears to be limited.
Second, this dissertation examines the effect of privatization on enterprise performance using evidence from China's state-owned enterprises reform. The ownership structure of China's state-owned enterprises (SOEs) has changed dramatically over the past two decades as a result of privatization reform. Studies of the effect of privatization on enterprise performance are usually subject to selection bias and endogeneity problems. Based on a panel of SOEs from 1998 to 2007, I use a fixed effects model and propensity score matching method to estimate the effect of privatization on enterprise performance, controlling for both time-invariant and time-variant enterprise characteristics. In addition, I distinguish the average effect of privatization from the contemporaneous effect of each round of privatization. Within the sample, privatization leads to an overall increase in productivity, profitability, and innovation activities. Privatization reduces employment temporarily, but enlarges the scale of operations in the long run. The gain in profitability mainly comes from the reduction in administrative expenses and financial expenses.
Third, this dissertation explores the effects of export subsidies on firms' investment behaviors and export performances. Although it is well acknowledged that export subsidy is an effective way to increase the scale of exports, its effect on other aspects of firm behaviors and export performances has received less attention. I examine the effect of export subsidy on firms' investment choices in China. To avoid potential endogeneity problems, the empirical analysis uses exogenous variation in the export tax rebate program in China from 2000 to 2006. I find that export subsidy, in the form of export tax rebate, affects firms' investment in advertising, R\&D activities, and human capital accumulation positively. It has a positive impact on firms' total export value, average export price, and average estimated quality. In addition, the effect is heterogeneous: it is stronger for non-state firms and less technology-intensive firms.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Verhoogen, Eric A.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
June 5, 2019