Politics, State Ownership, and Corporate Investments

Published Papers
Alok, Shashwat., Ayyagari, Meghana. (Forthcoming) "Politics, State Ownership, and Corporate Investments", Review of Financial Studies
Abstract:
We document a political cycle in the investment decisions of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) by using the constitutionally mandated election schedule in India as a source of exogenous variation in politicians’ incentive to cater to voters. Using a project-level investment database, we find that SOEs announce more capital expenditure projects in election years, especially in infrastructure, and in districts with close elections, high-ranking politicians, and left-wing incumbents. SOE projects in election years have negative announcement returns, suggesting a loss in shareholder value. These patterns are not seen in nongovernment firms or in off-election years.