This important new book attempts to establish a fresh conceptual framework for the study of corporate governance by employing the new institutional economics of contract enforcement. This framework helps to clarify two critical issues including the role of law in financial development and whether there is an optimal corporate governance model that should be followed by countries attempting to develop their own stock markets.
Applying this novel framework, the author conducts a comprehensive study on Chinese corporate governance and discovers that the Chinese stock market has rapidly expanded even in the absence of any effective institutions. She provides a credible explanation to this ‘China puzzle’ by arguing that the growth of the stock market is mainly driven by state guarantees, institutional rent seeking by state-owned companies, financial repression and investors’ speculation. Indeed, there is probably nowhere better to look than China’s stock market to assess the limits of the gradualist approach to financial development. As the book explains, the potential efficiency gains that could be created by a healthy, well-functioning stock market have been completely outweighed by the consideration of maintaining the existing political system.
This book will appeal to scholars and students of economics and law with an interest in corporate governance, Chinese economic development and new institutional economics.