BOFIT Discussion Papers (1999- )


BOFIT Discussion Papers is a series devoted to academic studies by BOFIT economists and guest researchers. The focus is on works relevant for economic policy and economic developments in emerging economies. More information.

Recent Submissions

  • He, Qing; Li, Xiaoyang (2020)
    BOFIT Discussion Papers 27/2020
    We investigate the influence of financial and political factors on peer-to-peer (P2P) platform failures in China’s online lending market. Using a competing risk model for platform survival, we show that large platforms, platforms with listed firms as large shareholders, and platforms with better information disclosure were less likely to go bankrupt or run off (platform owners abscond with investor funds). More importantly, failing platforms were much less likely to run off in advance of major political events, but more likely to declare bankruptcy or run off after such events. These effects are more pronounced for politically connected platforms, platforms operating in provinces where local officials have close ties with central government, and in provinces with better local financial conditions. Our study highlights the role of political incentives on government regulatory intervention in platform failures.
  • Gregg, Amanda; Nafziger, Steven (2020)
    BOFIT Discussion Papers 26/2020
    Enterprise creation, destruction, and evolution support the transition to modern economic growth, yet these processes are poorly understood in industrializing contexts. We investigate Imperial Russia’s industrial development at the firm-level by examining entry, exit, and persistence of corporations. Relying on newly developed balance sheet panel data from every active Russian corporation (N > 2500) between 1899 and 1914, we examine the characteristics of entering and exiting corporations, how new entrants evolved, and the impact of founder identity on subsequent outcomes. Russian corporations operated flexibly and competitively, conditional on overcoming distortionary institutional barriers to entry that slowed the emergence of these leading firms in the Imperial economy.
  • Fidrmuc, Jarko; Moroz, Serhiy; Reck, Fabian (2020)
    BOFIT Discussion Papers 25/2020
    This paper analyzes the impact of ethnic heterogeneity and military conflict on the degree of regional consumption risk-sharing in Ukraine. Ethnicity and violent conflicts can influence risk-sharing e.g. through social capital, ethnic fractionalization, migration, and remittances. The sample consists of 25 Ukrainian oblasts and covers the highly volatile period from 2003 to 2016. Our results suggest that the degree of consumption risk-sharing is comparably high; between 70 and 80 percent on average. Moreover, consumption risk-sharing is significantly higher in the regions with a large Russian minority, which are enjoying special treatment by Russia. By contrast, the degree of financial development, as proxied by deposit and loan share in GRP, does not significantly affect the regional degree of consumption risk-sharing. Furthermore, we apply spatial models to control for spatial dependence across regions. Results are confirmed and it is shown that spatial correlation is important. Finally, we show that the recent geopolitical conflict in east Ukraine changed the regional degree of consumption risk-sharing.
  • Lonsky, Jakub (2020)
    BOFIT Discussion Papers 24/2020
    This paper studies the origins and consequences of the Russian mafia (vory-v-zakone). I web scraped a unique dataset that contains detailed biographies of more than 5,000 mafia leaders operating in 15 countries of the (former) Soviet Union at some point between 1916 and 2017. Using this data, I first show that the Russian mafia originated in the Gulag – the Soviet system of forced labor camps which housed around 18 million prisoners in the 1920s - 1950s period. Second, I document that the distance to the nearest camp is a strong negative predictor of mafia presence in Russia’s communities in the early post-Soviet period. Finally, using an instrumental variable approach which exploits the spatial distribution of the gulags, I examine the effects of mafia presence on local crime and elite violence in mid-1990s Russia. In particular, I show that the communities with mafia presence experienced a dramatic rise in crime driven by turf wars which erupted among rival clans around 1993 and persisted for much of the 1990. Further heterogeneity analysis reveals that mafia presence led to a spike in attacks against businessmen, fellow criminals, as well as law enforcement officers and judges, while politically-motivated violence remained unaffected.
  • Fei, Xuan (2020)
    BOFIT Discussion Papers 23/2020
    This paper proposes a spatial equilibrium model to quantify welfare losses from land market distortions in China. In the model, heterogeneous firms in a variety of sectors choose their locations across regions with costly trade, frictional labor migration, and land market distortions. We match land transaction and firm-level survey data to estimate land market distortions for firms. Misallocation arises when similar firms are faced with land prices that effectively prevent productive firms from establishing in large cities where they can benefit from agglomeration forces and access to higher productivity. Our framework incorporating land market distortions also helps clarify the mystery of China’s undersized cities, a phenomenon noted by Au and Henderson (2006) and Chauvin et al. (2017). Our estimates suggest large negative effects of land policies on the economic welfare in China. We end with a counterfactual exercise that suggests that a coordinated land and labor migration reform would generate welfare gains and reduce regional inequality.