The authors study the impact of government-led incentive systems by examining a staggered reform in the Chinese state-owned enterprise (SOE) performance evaluation policy. To improve capital allocative efficiency, in 2010, regulators switched from using return on equity (ROE) to economic value added (EVA) when evaluating SOE performance. This EVA policy adopts a one-size-fits-all approach by stipulating a fixed cost of capital for virtually all SOEs, ignoring the potential heterogeneity of firm-specific costs of capital. The authors show that SOEs did respond to the performance evaluation reform by altering their investment decisions, more so when the actual borrowing rate was further away from the stipulated cost of capital. The authors paper provides causal evidence that incentive schemes affect real investment and sheds new light on challenges faced by economic reforms in China.
About the Seminar Series
Financial market development goes hand-in-hand with economic growth. The development of China’s capital markets in terms of size, regulations, capability, and efficiency has been impressive. China may now even lead globally in some dimensions, notably e-payments systems. Yet, China’s capital markets are still a work-in-progress facing both generic and unique challenges. Other Asian capital markets have even greater uneven development. Some in advanced Asian economies have acquired globally acclaimed reputation and capabilities while various regulatory and structural weaknesses dwarf others. Corporations and investors have been inclined to arbitrage cross-border regulatory and developmental gaps; so the very uneven status of capital markets across Asia is a policy issue for the governments in the entire region and perhaps globally. Analyzing the positive and negative lessons in the functioning of Asia’s capital markets, and identifying reforms and applications of technology that could further improve Asian capital markets’ allocation efficiency, financial inclusion, and forewarning against reforms that might cause problems can benefit practitioners, policymakers and researchers, and can contribute significantly to overall prosperity.
The ABFER and the University of Chicago’s Becker Friedman Institute China (BFI-China), in collaboration with National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School, Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance (SAIF), The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Department of Economics, CUHK-Shenzhen and Tsinghua University PBC School of Finance (Tsinghua PBCSF), hope to provide a virtual network to benefit researchers, policymakers, and practitioners from Asia and beyond.
All times are listed in Central Standard Time. A unique Zoom webinar link will be sent to you two days before the event.
Each session lasts for an hour (30 minutes for the author, 15 minutes for the discussion, 15 minutes for participants’ Q&A).
Wednesday, March 16, 2022
What Gets Measured Gets Managed: Investment and the Cost of Capital
Zhiguo He, Fuji Bank and Heller Professor of Finance and Jeuck Faculty Fellow, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago and Senior Fellow, ABFER
Discussant: Kjetil Storesletten, Richard and Beverly Fink Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, University of Minnesota
Session Chair: Michael Song, Professor, Department of Economics, Chinese University of Hong Kong and Senior Fellow, ABFER