Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis
We examine the role of relationship-based resource allocations during the approval process of secondary equity offerings (SEOs) in the Chinese capital market. In this unique regulatory setting, SEO-seeking firms must have their applications approved by an Issuance Examination Committee (IEC) of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), a hybrid template between government-directed and market-directed models. We identify guanxi-based relationships as cases in which the partner of an intermediary professional firm (e.g., auditing or law) employed by the SEO applicant also serves on secondment as a full-time IEC member. Our results show that these guanxi-based relationships significantly increase the likelihood of SEO approvals, particularly for suspect SEO applicants with abnormal levels of earnings management, related-party transactions, and inter-company loans. More importantly, we find that guanxi-influenced SEO firms have significantly poorer performance in the post-SEO period, which indicates that it results in inefficient resource allocations. In addition, we show that these quid pro quo arrangements benefit IEC-member intermediaries through higher market shares and professional fee revenues. Overall, our evidence suggests that relationship-based resource allocations lead to negative spillover effects that impose social welfare losses.
In this study, we examine the impact of relative pay (manager pay divided by average worker pay) on a firm's productivity. Using data from a major transitional economy, China, we find that relative pay is negatively associated with high productivity. Our results provide support for the view that workers are alienated when their incomes are far lower than that of top management and this leads to lower productivity. This effect is most pronounced in labor intensive firms.
In some cultures vast personal wealth is lauded whereas in others, it is viewed with suspicion and contempt. In recent years, a super rich elite of business people has emerged in China, and, given the country's cultural and socialist past, we believe that people are more likely to react negatively to reports of conspicuous wealth. To test our arguments, we examine the reactions to and consequences of China's entrepreneurs being included on the Hurun Rich List. We find negative consequences for stock market traded firms controlled by the Rich List entrepreneurs: stock prices decline, government subsidies are reduced, and the named entrepreneurs are more likely to be investigated. These effects are strongest in rent-seeking industries and are mitigated by philanthropy.
State-controlled listed firms in China receive preferential treatment when borrowing from commercial banks; in contrast, private controlled firms rely on informal finance and on trade credit. We argue for and find evidence that private firms located in higher social trust regions use more trade credit from suppliers, extend more trade credit to customers, and collect receivables and pay payables more quickly. These findings are enhanced for firms located in provinces with weak protection of property rights. Our results are robust to different measures of social trust, legal environment, and endogeneity. Overall, our results show that social trust helps private firms overcome institutional difficulties in financing their activities.
The International Journal of Accounting
The Enron/Arthur Andersen scandal has raised concerns internationally about auditor independence, audit quality, and the need for regulatory action such as mandatory auditor rotation. China's unique institutional features provide a setting in which we can compare comprehensively the various forms of auditor rotation at different levels (partner vs. firm) and in different settings (voluntary vs. mandatory). In addition, institutional conditions vary dramatically across China, which provides us with an opportunity to test whether the development of market and legal institutions affects the impact of rotation on audit quality. We expect that auditors are less (more) constrained by market forces and less (more) self-disciplined to maintain audit quality in regions with less (more) developed market and legal institutions. Therefore, mandatory rotation may play a more (less) important role in less (more) developed regions. Using auditors' propensity to issue a modified audit opinion (MAO) as a proxy for audit quality, we find that firms with mandatory audit partner rotations are associated with a significantly higher likelihood of an MAO than are no-rotation firms. However, this effect is restricted to firms located in less developed regions. We find similar evidence for voluntary audit firm rotation although the significance level is much weaker than for mandatory partner rotation. Other forms of auditor rotations (i.e., mandatory audit firm rotation and voluntary audit partner rotation), have no effect on MAOs.
Journal of Accounting and Public Policy
Many countries have implemented rules that require an audit partner to rotate off the audit of a specific client after a certain period of time in the belief that rotation will improve independence and will allow for a fresh look at the audit. The rules are either silent on whether or when a partner can rotate back or else they specify a cooling-off period after which the rotated-off partner can resume the audit. Using archival data from China, a country with a 2-year cooling-off period, this paper explores the determinants of whether the audit partner rotates back or not when the cooling-off period expires, and whether audit quality is weakened by the audit partner rotation-back practice. We find that the audit partner rotation-back practice can be explained by factors relating to switching costs, agency conflicts, client desirability, and the audit partner’s capacity constraint considerations. Interestingly, we find that clients suffering greater audit adjustments immediately prior to the expiration of the cooling-off period are more likely to be associated with subsequent audit partner rotation-back. Furthermore, we find that rotation-back partners tend to treat former clients more favorably than non-rotation-back cases using modified audit opinions as our proxy for audit quality. Overall, our findings offer preliminary explanations for and shed light on the consequences of rotation-back practice arising from mandatory audit partner rotation requirements and lend support to regulatory concerns on rotation-back practice among audit partners.
The Journal of Law and Economics
We examine the effects of corporate lawsuits in China and find that litigation announcements depress the stock prices of both defendant and plaintiff firms. Financially distressed defendants suffer lower stock returns. We find that politically connected defendants are favored in the judicial process: they have higher stock returns and are more likely to appeal against adverse outcomes and to obtain a favorable appeal result. State-controlled defendants fare better than privately controlled defendants when it comes to appeals but do not have higher stock returns. The evidence suggests that there is bias in the judicial process.