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What Gets Measured Gets Managed: Investment and the Cost of Capital


Time: 10:00 am-11:30 am, Mar. 25th, 2022

Platform: Zoom

Speaker: Zhiguo He

(University of Chicago)

Link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81626164288?pwd=Zmp1VG41dXF0by9UZTBRVkxSbjJWZz09

Meeting ID: 816 2616 4288

Passcode: inse



We study the impact of government-led incentive systems by examining a staggered reform in the Chinese state-owned enterprise (SOE) performance evaluation policy. To improve capital allocative efficiency, in 2010, regulators switched from using return on equity (ROE) to economic value added (EVA) when evaluating SOE performance. This EVA policy adopts a one-size-fits-all approach by stipulating a fixed cost of capital for virtually all SOEs, ignoring the potential heterogeneity of firm-specific costs of capital. We show that SOEs did respond to the performance evaluation reform by altering their investment decisions, more so when the actual borrowing rate was further away from the stipulated cost of capital. Our paper provides causal evidence that incentive schemes affect real investment and sheds new light on challenges faced by economic reforms in China.




Professor Zhiguo He is the Fuji Bank and Heller Professor of Finance at University of Chicago. He is interested in the implications of agency frictions and debt maturities in financial markets and macroeconomics with a special focus on contract theory and banking. His recent research focuses on the role of financial institutions in the 2007/08 global financial crisis. He is conducting academic research on Chinese financial markets including the stock market, local government debt, shadow banking, and interbank markets together with recent regulation changes. Professor He has also been writing academic articles on new progress in the area of cryptocurrency and blockchains. His research has been published in leading academic journals including the American Economic Review, Econometrica, Review of Economic Studies, Journal of Finance, Review of Financial Studies, Journal of Financial Economics, American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, and Management Science. He has been an associate editor for the Review of Financial Studies and Management Science and currently serves as an associate editor for the Journal of Finance. He served as the guest editor of the Review of Finance “Special Issue on China” and currently serves as the editor of the Review of Asset Pricing Studies. Professor He received his PhD in Finance from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in 2008.