Firm-level decisions are largely made by corporate executives whose preferences and attitudes can be shaped by historical traits and what is happening inside their households. We investigate how the involvement of a founder’s wife through marital ownership influences the family firm’s level of risk-taking and explore the underlying mechanisms.
We apply the discontinuity methodology from the accounting literature to a political economy setting of GDP reporting and examine whether Chinese local governments manage regional GDP numbers. We find strong evidence of discontinuities around zero in the distribution of actual minus target GDP growth rates. The frequencies of just meeting or beating GDP growth targets are about five (four) times the frequencies of just missing targets at the prefecture (province) level. The results are stronger for governors with longer tenures and those without political connections to higher-level officials as well as for local governments with more resources under their control.
We explore the consequences of a 2004 tax change in China that reduced the value-added tax (VAT) on equipment investment. While the goal was to encourage technology upgrades, we find little evidence that the reform achieved its intended results. Although firms shifted the composition of investment toward machinery, actual investment rates were unaffected. Firms replaced labor with machinery, leading employment to fall significantly in the treated provinces and sectors. Our results suggest that the primary impact of the policy was to induce labor-saving investment.
The roll-out of the internet in China boosted firms’ exports and overall performance even before the rise of broadband and major e-commerce platforms. This finding is relevant for the many developing countries trying to strike a balance between widening access to basic internet services and deepening it through the creation of broadband networks and connections to major e-commerce platforms.
This investigation uses a balanced panel of large manufacturing firms to provide novel evidence on the dynamic effects of computerizing VAT invoices on tax revenues and firm behavior in China, 1998-2007. We find that computerization increases cumulative VAT revenues and increases the effective average tax rate. Furthermore, the evidence suggests that the effects of computerization change over time: tax revenue gains are likely to be smaller in the long run. Meanwhile, firms reduce output and input, and increase productivity monotonically over time.