Debt financing, soft budget constraints, and government ownership
Evidence from China



Debt financing is expected to improve the quality of corporate governance, but we find, using a large sample of public listed companies (PLCs) from China, that an increase in bank loans increases the size of managerial perks and free cash flows and decreases corporate efficiency. We find that bank lending facilitates managerial exploitation of corporate wealth in government-controlled firms, but constrains managerial agency costs in firms controlled by private owners. We argue that the failure of corporate governance may derive from the shared government ownership of lenders and borrowers, which nurtures soft budget constraints.