Daily Academic Alpha: Government versus Private Enterprise

Daily Academic Alpha: Government versus Private Enterprise

March 30, 2015 Uncategorized
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(Last Updated On: January 18, 2017)

State Capitalism vs. Private Enterprise

We study the efficiency of internal capital markets at state-controlled and privately owned business groups in China. Using highly granular data on within-group capital flows, we document stark differences: while private groups allocate more capital to units with better investment opportunities, state groups do the opposite. Minority shareholders in state owned firms suffer as a result. Product market competition and external monitoring by outside investors help discipline state groups’ tendency to ignore investment opportunities. We conjecture that capital allocations at state groups reflect the private career objectives of their chairmen. We show that promotion depends not on increasing profitability but on avoiding layoffs. Consistent with a career motive, we find that capital allocations are used to prop up large and struggling employers, but only if the chairman has a realistic chance of being promoted and if the cost of self-interested behavior is not too high.

A New Structure for U.S. Federal Debt

I propose a new structure for U.S. Federal debt. All debt should be perpetual, paying coupons forever with no principal. The debt should be composed of the following: 1) Fixed-value, floating-rate, electronically transferable debt. Such debt looks like a money-market fund, or reserves at the Fed, to an investor. 2) Nominal perpetuities. This debt pays a coupon of $1 per bond, forever. 3) Indexed perpetuities. This debt pays a coupon of $1 times the current consumer price index (CPI). 4) Debt should be sold in a form that is free of all income, estate, capital gains, and other taxes. 5) Variable coupons. The government should have the right to temporarily reduce or eliminate coupons without triggering legal default. 6) Swaps. The Treasury transact in simple swap contracts between these securities.

Disentangling Loan Demand and Supply Shocks in Russia

This article presents three alternative models for decomposing loan developments into components associated with changes in loan demand and supply fundamentals. Two models are based on macro data (error correction model and structural vector autoregression with sign restrictions) and one is based on bank-specific Bank Lending Survey results. We conclude that although loan growth in Russia converges to a long-run equilibrium determined by macroeconomic (demand) factors the convergence is likely to be driven by bank-side (supply) shocks. We identify large and unexplained supply shocks in loan fluctuations during the crisis of 2008-2009, signifying an impairment of credit markets. We also find contractionary shocks unrelated to demand fundamentals or balance sheet structures in 2013, although in general loan developments in 2013 and the first half of 2014 were not at all extraordinary.


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About the Author

Wesley R. Gray, Ph.D.

After serving as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, Dr. Gray received a PhD, and was a finance professor at Drexel University. Dr. Gray’s interest in entrepreneurship and behavioral finance led him to found Alpha Architect. Dr. Gray has published three books: EMBEDDED: A Marine Corps Adviser Inside the Iraqi Army, QUANTITATIVE VALUE: A Practitioner’s Guide to Automating Intelligent Investment and Eliminating Behavioral Errors, and DIY FINANCIAL ADVISOR: A Simple Solution to Build and Protect Your Wealth. His numerous published works has been highlighted on CBNC, CNN, NPR, Motley Fool, WSJ Market Watch, CFA Institute, Institutional Investor, and CBS News. Dr. Gray earned an MBA and a PhD in finance from the University of Chicago and graduated magna cum laude with a BS from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.