Corporate Governance, Enforcement and Financial Development

Corporate Governance, Enforcement and Financial Development

The Chinese Experience

Ding Chen

This important new book attempts to establish a fresh conceptual framework for the study of corporate governance by employing the new institutional economics of contract enforcement. This framework helps to clarify two critical issues including the role of law in financial development and whether there is an optimal corporate governance model that should be followed by countries attempting to develop their own stock markets.

Chapter 4: Developing a capital market under weak enforcement

Ding Chen

Subjects: asian studies, asian development, asian law, development studies, asian development, economics and finance, corporate governance, financial economics and regulation, institutional economics, law - academic, asian law, corporate law and governance


This chapter attempts to provide an explanation for the development of China’s stock market which is clearly inconsistent with my ‘enforcement matters’ thesis. It contains four sections. Section 1 casts some doubts on the often quoted data on China’s stock market. It takes a second look at the real size of market capitalization and the number of investors. Section 2 raises a critique of the argument by Pistor and Xu (2005). Pistor and Xu (2005) claimed that the fact that China’s stock market avoided the failure of other transition economies should be attributed to its adoption of the quota system to fill the governance vacuum during the initial period. Section 3 provides an alternative explanation. It argues that China’s stock market is driven by four factors: state guarantee, rent seeking, speculation and financial repression. Section 4 draws attention to the inefficiency of the stock market. It points out that although China’s stock market expanded quickly in the absence of effective enforcement, it displays serious deviation from the macro economy and extreme volatility. In Chapter 1, I established the thesis that enforcement is crucial to the development of a capital market. In the absence of any form of effective enforcement, a capital market will not develop. In Chapter 3, I examined the enforcement mechanisms in the Chinese securities market and found that neither formal nor informal enforcement mechanisms are effective. As a result, an under-developed stock market may be observed in China. However, the Chinese stock market seems to present a counter-example.

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