I consider the application of János Kornai’s soft budget constraint (SBC) concept to the state capitalist economy. I argue that interaction of SBC with agency problems within the government bureaucracy helps explaining a major feature of state capitalism – failure to privatize underperforming state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Bureaucrats supervising the failing SOEs prefer to keep them afloat and gamble for resurrection; in contrast, privatization would involve recognizing the loss, which would result in acknowledging the bureaucrat’s failure that is disincentivized by the state. This endogenously emerging preferential treatment of state-owned firms creates a competitive advantage against private firms; this explains why in state capitalism privatization may result in lower rather than higher productivity and therefore remain unpopular.
Looking back to the global financial crisis of 2008–2009, Hungary was among the first countries to be forced to make use of financial assistance from the EU and the IMF. The government, the MNB (the central bank of Hungary) as well as the domestic and foreign analysts cited the high public debt and the volume of unsecured foreign-currency loans as the main reasons for the crises. Though these were real weaknesses, this diagnosis was false as much as the following treatment. First and foremost, it was the inadequate level of foreign exchange reserves that made Hungary to request outside financial assistance.
The excessive fiscal tightening urged by the MNB only led to deepening of the crises. In general, the macropolicy – both fiscal and monetary policy – before, during and after the crises turned out to be painfully pro-cyclical. Due to the lack of sufficient reserves, the MNB became virtually powerless to intervene and could only watch from the side-lines as events unfolded. The orthodox mind-set after replenishing the forex reserves prevented it from implementing a broad scale of unconventional measures to ease the crises. The fiscal authority lost its capacity long before to reduce the severity of the crises. Thus, the excessive and incorrect structure of fiscal correction coupled with an unjustified orthodox monetary policy, the contraction of the Hungarian economy went much beyond the inevitable amount.
Since the development of young companies with a good growth potential can also be expected to boost economic growth, reduce unemployment and enhance competitiveness, economic policy makers consider it a matter of prime importance that the venture capital industry provide appropriate capital supply for their development. Many countries implement central programmes to promote the venture capital financing of the development of enterprises that would have no access to venture capital on a purely market basis. The experience in Hungary is that state intervention in the venture capital industry mainly has political reasons, it uses budgetary sources sparingly and it is isolated from the private sector. But for its almost complete inefficiency, state activity would have softened the conditions of competition, crowded out the private sector and given preferential treatment to the political clientele. Realizing the abortive nature of its intervention, the state made no effort to identify the causes of failure and the role of supply and demand factors, respectively, hindering the venture capital supply of the small and medium-size enterprise (SME) sector. The intervention practice chosen by the state most recently is contrary to the practice of the European Union in several respects — a circumstance dooming government measures to boost the venture capital industry to failure again.
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Authors:Ádám Banai, Nikolett Vágó and Sándor Winkler
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Singhroy , D. – Love , J. ( 2016 ): Proposal for the Inclusion of Trastuzumab Emtansine (T-Dm1) in the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines for the Treatment of HER2-Positive Locally Advanced or Metastatic Breast Cancer . Knowledge Ecology