Depoliticization and corporate cash holdings: Evidence from the mandated resignation of directors in China
Journal of Corporate Finance
The 2013 depoliticization regulation (Rule 18) in China mandates government officials to resign from board positions in public firms, terminating firms' political connections established through these directors. Exploiting this regulation as a quasi-experiment, we document that politically connected firms increase their cash holdings 12.7% more than non-connected firms because of these resignations. This pattern is more pronounced among firms that rely more heavily on the government for external resources. Among state-owned firms, the pattern is more evident in firms that are more deeply privatized. In addition, firms that lose political ties experience a significant decline in obtaining bank loans and government subsidies, and they are also slower to adjust their cash holdings toward the optimal level. These findings underscore the role of corporate political linkages in facilitating firms' access to resources that “soften” firms' budget constraints.
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National Office for Philosophy and Social Sciences