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State enterprise performance and soft budget constraints: The case of Bulgaria

Stijn Claessens () and R. Kyle Peters

The Economics of Transition, 1997, vol. 5, issue 2, 305-322

Abstract: This paper analyses the performance of state enterprises in Bulgaria during 1992-94. Consistent with the literature on other transitional economies, this paper finds that one key factor underlying (the lack of) enterprise adjustment in Bulgaria during this period was the availability of financing. Empirically, the (lack of) past adjustment and the softness of finance are the best predictors of current adjustment. Many state enterprises, mostly smaller ones, appear to have adjusted to the new economic structure, partly in response to tighter budget constraints. However, a number of large, hard-core lossmaking state enterprises did not adjust, due primarily to the soft budget constraints that they faced. These enterprises crowded out profitable enterprises, both public and private, through their large financing requirements, adversely affecting economic growth. Moreover, continued bank financing of these large loss-makers decapitalized the banking system, and budgetary financing of their losses, largely through tax arrears, has undermined fiscal policy. This lack of enterprise adjustment and the resulting financial indiscipline lies at the core of the macroeconomic difficulties that Bulgaria has recently faced. Copyright The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, 1997.

Date: 1997
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