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Direct or indirect? The impact of political connections on export mode of Chinese private enterprises

Yi Zhang, Chun Liu and Ting Wang

China Economic Review, 2020, vol. 61, issue C

Abstract: The learning-by-exporting effect can vary by mode of export (direct or indirect via intermediaries), which raises the importance of understanding factors associated with how firms export. This paper investigates the effect of political connections, one form of informal institutions particularly important in China, on the choice of export mode by Chinese private enterprises. By using firm-level survey data and addressing endogeneity, we find that having political connections significantly increases the probability of direct exporting, while it has no effect on indirect exporting through trade intermediaries. We further test the underlying mechanisms behind these findings. The results show that corporate political connections can help alleviate financial constraints by promoting the (external) access to bank credits and by reducing the (internal) extra-tax burdens, which are disproportionately important for direct exporting relative to indirect exporting. In addition, we find limited evidence supporting the importance of contract enforcement and managerial efficiency as channels though which political connections affect the choice of export mode.

Keywords: Political connections; Export mode; Financial constraints; China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F14 P26 P33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2020.101434

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China Economic Review is currently edited by B.M. Fleisher, K. X. D. Huang, M.E. Lovely, Y. Wen, X. Zhang and X. Zhu

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