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'Letting Go of the Small': An Analysis of the Privatisation of Rural Enterprises in Jiangsu and Shandong

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Since the policy of "grasping the large, letting go of the small" was initiated in 1996, there has been a program of mass privatisation of China's rural industrial enterprises. This paper, based on interviews and survey data from three counties in Jiangsu and Shandong, analyses the process of privatisation and examines its impacts. Our analysis, which incorporates both choice theoretic and power theoretic considerations, shows how rapid privatisation was driven by the desire to prevent further asset stripping, how 'efficiency' objectives were seen as requiring majority share ownership by enterprise managers, and how the privatisation process better served the interests of some agents (most notably, township governments and enterpise managers) than others (most notably, workers).
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Keywords: privatisation; rural China; rural industry; township and village enterprises; transition economies

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2003

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