Three papers about China's recent economic reform and firms' productivity
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The first chapter of this dissertation argues that privatization and other policy changes in China during the past decade had a direct effect on input prices. This is in contrast to most previous work, which instead emphasized the effect of privatization on productivity. I illustrate the importance of taking such differences into account by estimating the parameters of a static firm competition model using the Chinese Industrial Enterprises Database and calculating a measure of total factor productivity for each firm out of those estimates. The results of my analysis indicate that the percentage difference in productivity between private and state-owned firms may be overestimated by as much as 135 percentage points if the difference in input prices is not properly addressed. The second chapter of my dissertation establishes empirical support for such a difference in input prices by constructing a dynamic structural model of privatization, firm heterogeneity and industry evolution, and estimating its parameters using the Chinese Industrial Enterprises Database. My estimates of the model confirm many well documented institutional features about China's reform, including "grasp the large and let go of the small" policy, easy access to credit for state-owned enterprises (SOEs), and selection for privatization according to firms' probabilities of success. In addition, the estimated structural model provides the basic tool for policy simulations and enables us to see the effects of hypothetical policies, for example “grasp the small and let go of the large” and “removing SOEs’ easy access to credits”. In the last chapter, I study the effect of privatization of state-owned enterprises in China, focusing on not only the effect of privatization on a firm's productivity, but also its effect on market output allocation. I use the method proposed by Olley and Pakes (1996) to find improvements in average market productivities for all industries in China. This growth in productivity resulted from enterprises becoming more productive, but not from more efficient output allocation within the market. Private firms are proven to be more productive than state-owned enterprises in all industries, but privatization itself improved firm efficiency only for some industries.
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