Resolving China's Zombies: Tackling Debt and Raising Productivity

Author/Editor:

W. Raphael Lam ; Alfred Schipke ; Yuyan Tan ; Zhibo Tan

Publication Date:

November 27, 2017

Electronic Access:

Free Full Text (PDF file size is 1862 KB).Use the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this PDF file

Disclaimer: IMF Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to encourage debate. The views expressed in IMF Working Papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF, its Executive Board, or IMF management.

Summary:

Nonviable “zombie” firms have become a key concern in China. Using novel firm-level industrial survey data, this paper illustrates the central role of zombies and their strong linkages with stateowned enterprises (SOEs) in contributing to debt vulnerabilities and low productivity. As a group, zombie firms and SOEs account for an outsized share of corporate debt, contribute to much of the rise in debt, and face weak fundamentals. Empirical results also show that resolving these weak firms can generate significant gains of 0.7–1.2 percentage points in long-term growth per year. These results also shed light on the ongoing government strategy to tackle these issues by evaluating the effects of different restructuring options. In particular, deleveraging, reducing government subsidies, as well as operational restructuring through divestment and reducing redundancy have significant benefits in restoring corporate performance for zombie firms.

Series:

Working Paper No. 17/266

English

Publication Date:

November 27, 2017

ISBN/ISSN:

9781484330722/1018-5941

Stock No:

WPIEA2017266

Price:

$18.00 (Academic Rate:$18.00)

Format:

Paper

Pages:

26

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