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Keywords:

  • China;
  • entrepreneurs;
  • management buyout (MBO);
  • rent appropriation;
  • transition

abstract

This article explores the dynamic interactions between entrepreneurs and politicians in transitional China through the lens of management buyouts. Specifically, we identify two contrasting outcomes of entrepreneur–politician alliances: privatization buyouts by entrepreneurs implying sustainable original alliances and failed management buyouts implying the collapse of the original alliances. Drawing on the rent appropriation literature, we treat Chinese management buyouts as bargaining, clarification, and redistribution of organizational rent between entrepreneurs and the government agencies represented by local politicians. We further develop a model of entrepreneur–politician bargaining that identifies the determinants of varying rent bargaining and management buyout outcomes.