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Privatization Of Public Enterprise In Nigeria Economics Essay

The prosperity of nations evolved from several social, political and economic postulations that eventually produced the realities of the present time. This was after series of trials and modifications. Before now, states were commonly run along socialist and capitalist divides. This is especially so in the case of USA and former USSR which happened to be the two most powerful world economic blocs. Many other nations then tied their political and socio-economic ideologies to these capitalist and socialist blocs. Today however, most countries that were toiling the path of socialism have all turned into capitalist economies, out of which privatization and its numerous paraphernalia also evolved. Economic systems have been restructured to meet current global challenges. More than 60 countries, including those with capitalist, socialist and Islamic ideologies, have joined the privatization train since the past few decades (Gusau 2000). Meanwhile different countries have different objectives for pursuing the policy of privatization. While some countries used it to balance up their budget deficits, some used it to pursue national debt reduction, efficiency of public enterprises and improvement of infrastructural facilities. Privatization is believed to possess the capability of opening ways for new investments that would create new jobs and raise more incomes for government, firms and individuals.
In Nigeria, almost all the above scenarios seem applicable as the nation was bedeviled with avalanche of socio-economic malfunctions after her independence in 1960. For instance, Hayatuddeen (2000) opined that our privatization programme (in Nigeria) has been largely driven by the need to put government finances in order and lessen the current economic difficulties. Historically, privatization was formally initiated in Nigeria by the Privatization and Commercialization Act of 1998. The Act later set up the Technical Committee on Privatization and Commercialization (TCPC), with a mandate to privatize 111 public enterprises and commercialize 34 others. By 1993, the Committee has privatized 88 out of the 111 enterprises under it. In the same 1993, the Federal Military Government promulgated the Bureau for Public Enterprises Act which repealed the 1988 Act and set up the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) to implement the privatization programme in Nigeria. Furtherance to the above, the Federal Government in 1999 enacted the Public Enterprise (Privatization and Commercialization) Act, which also created the National Council on Privatization. Having laid down the foregoing legal and statutory foundations, privatization became a reality in Nigeria, even though many even believe that, but for the pressure from her creditors, Nigeria would not have taken the programme as seriously as it has been taken. This is in line with the assertion of Sayyad (1990) that the core of privation is a World Bank programme for economic resuscitation, and that workers should endeavor to take advantage of the programme by participating in it functionally.
Today, privatization has become a subject of intense economic, political and academic discourse. In Nigeria, and indeed in almost all African countries, this ideology has become a sensitive public issue that has generated a constellation of criticisms from social activists, academia and labour unions on one hand, and commendations from the supporters of government on the other. There is no doubt therefore that such an important public issue needs constant assessment, both from the academia and the government itself. The basic tenet of the privatization policy is the idea that efficiency in running what used to be public enterprises is guaranteed. This is expected to be achievable through multiple ownership strategy and risk allocation between different contracting parties. This interprets that both risk and benefits from such enterprises are spread to as many members of the public as possible. This study therefore intends to measure performance of the process thus far, from academic perspective.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM Market globalization, powered by knowledge-based technology, brought about keener economic competition among countries and regions of the world. It becomes clearer by the day that government in economics could not alone cope with the challenges of globalization. Therefore new economic reforms started to emerge, privatization being one of them, and probably the most popular today.
Nwoye (2009) identified economic development, political expediency, social equity and consumer protection, resource (finance) management, and national security as the justification for the establishment of public enterprises. However, the Nigerian nation in 1980s witnessed a steady deterioration of the economy and what Nwoye (2009) described as seemingly faulty economic policies, leading to poor incomes, loss of jobs, dilapidating infrastructures, scarcity of foreign exchange and low level of capacity utilization. Towards the end of 1980 therefore, the public enterprises began to suffer from fundamental problems of ineffective capital structures, excessive bureaucratic control and intervention, dysfunctional technologies, technical and manpower incompetence and wanton corruption. The World Bank and IMF advised Nigeria to divest public enterprises and embark on privatization as an economic reform that would help cut public sector inefficiency but revive economic growth.
In Nigeria today, the failure of many public enterprises and even major infrastructures is as a result of the tight stranglehold of the government on business enterprises and social facilities. The federal government has made concerted efforts since the past one decade to actualize wide spectra of its privatization policy. However the success of it is yet to be fully actualized. Several reasons accounts for this. Lack of proper education, corruption and weak financial institutions are parts of the problems. This research will be concerned with ‘to what extents’ have these been affecting the success of the privatization policy. It will also unveil the reality or otherwise in governments claim that privatization has thus far changed the socio-economic fortune of Nigerians. Amali (2000) asserted that the Nigerian economy is dominated by the public sector, which is characterized by inefficiency. A large chunk of public fund and bulk money from banks were used to establish and run most of the existing enterprises. The direct and indirect impacts of this on public fund and the banks’ financial resources have been debilitating. It also has negative effect on small-scale enterprise sector whose growth has been stunted by the afore-mentioned problems. A World Bank Report (1999) puts it that the size, weight and poor performance of the public enterprise sector added 25 percent to the cost of running private business in Nigeria. The argument in favor of government’s relinquishing the responsibility of running public enterprises in Nigeria to private investors, as well as embarking on the new global concept of public-private-partnership (PPP) has also held sway since the past ten years in Nigeria. It is believed that such partnership will engender stronger economy. The main objective of the privatization as earlier mentioned is therefore to eliminate inefficiency in public enterprises by turning them over to private enterprises and running them on pure business principles (Amali 2000). No wonder a common slogan of the Obasanjo administration (1999-2007) which pursued the privatization policy with great vigor is that “government has no business in doing business”. The foregoing seem to suggest that there is the general consensus, globally, that governments should reduce their direct involvement in all profit-oriented public enterprises and allow private business managers to handle them. Nigerian government has taken pro-active step in this direction, and many erstwhile business enterprises are now practically in the hand of private investors. The concern of this study is to undertake a critical appraisal of the privatization issues and determine how well it has fared in meeting public expectations in Nigeria.
1.3.0 RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND OBJECTIVES Emerging from the background above are the research questions and objectives highlighted below:
1.3.1 Research questions Has privatization lead to generation of more employment and higher income on the part of individuals and the government?
Has privatization lead to increased efficiency of the privatized public enterprises?
Has privatization lead to making more goods, social services and infrastructure more accessible and more affordable to the people?
What is the level of awareness, perception and participation of the Nigerian people on the government’s privatization policy?
1.3.2 Research Objectives The objectives of this research include the following:
1. To assesses the socio-economic impact of privatization, with emphasis on the following spheres:
â- Employment generation;
â- Income generation (government, firms, individuals);
â- Development of ancillary industries;
2. To evaluates the level of Nigerian public awareness; perception and participation in the privatization process;
3. To assesses the problems militating against the policy of privatization in Nigeria;
4 To proffer appropriate policy framework for ameliorating the current challenges facing the privatization policy in Nigeria.
CHAPTER TWO 2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1 THE CONCEPT OF INFRASTRUCTURE The concept of “infrastructure” is used in a broad sense to mean, collectively, the transportation of people, goods and information; and the provision of public services and utilities, such as water and power, and the removal, minimization and control of waste. It also includes environmental restoration (Nubi 2003).
Infrastructure has been described as the aggregation of all facilities that allow a society to function effectively. It is also seen as a wide range of economic and social activities crucial to creating an enabling environment for economic growth and enhanced quality of life. They include housing, electricity, pipe-borne water, drainage, waste disposal, roads, sewage, health, education, telecommunications and institutional structures like police station, banks and post office. It is simply, the engine needed to drive the city. Nubi asserted that by its very nature, physical infrastructure must be responsive to social objectives such as health, safety, economics, employment and recreation. The changes in these social objectives, however, will normally find expression in the body politic, which allocates the funds for its provision and maintenance. The above description is relevant to the issue under this research as almost all government establishments being privatized fall within it, and they are germane to societal socio-economic livelihoods.
2.2 MODELS OF PRIVATIZATION The Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) and Concession is one of the modern and widely adopted approaches towards actualizing the privatization policy of government the world over. It has been successfully applied in USA, China, UK and many of the emerging economies around the world to provide housing, electricity, health services, power, even the running of prison. In Nigeria both federal and state governments has adopted the model in the provision of electricity, transport and urban housing among others, and they are relevant to this study.
Adetola (2010) identified four models of this PPP. These are:
Management and lease contracts (which entails government investment and ownership with management by private sector for a fee),
Concessions (management of public enterprise by a private outfit for a period of time. The 105 km Lagos-Ibadan Expressway is currently under this arrangement at the cost of 90billion naira),
Greenfield projects (design, build, finance and operate as well as build, own, operate and transfer among others) and
Divestiture (full or partial transfer of government equity to a private sector in a government-owned enterprise).
2.3 HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE Hayatudeen (1990) in his paper titled the macro-economic implication of privatization and commercialization observed that the Technical Committee on Privatization of Companies (TCPC) was inaugurated in 1988 to improve efficiency in the country’s companies, by changing the orientation toward management under private ownership. He reviewed the growth of public companies, the macro-economic consequences of privatization as experienced by other countries and how to utilize the gains accrued. He said further that the idea of ‘supply creates demand’ was not questioned until the 1920’s depression, when Keynesian idea supported the need for government intervention and involvement in the means of production was considered a succor to the masses. This is to ensure that natives has input in local business and make essential needs affordable. The main objective of this programme is to improve cash flow by elimination of government subvention and stimulation of appropriate allocation of resources.
Economic benefits of the policy are economic growth due to reduction in unproductive spending, it creates access to capital at reduced price, improved efficiency, create employment improved exchange rate, emergence of new entrepreneur, better labour-management relationship while the served capital can be channel to infrastructure improvement.
Odushola (2001) in a paper titled Socio-economic Implication of Privatization of Public Utilities in Nigeria opined that the process was necessitated by the performance of multinational companies and that changing of ownership may bring relief to the privatized ones. He said enable atmosphere should be provided to enable those companies survive and government should not interfere with their policy. This connotes that government should only play regulatory roles.
An opinion of economic analysts has been in the same direction-in favor of privatization. Among the proponents of the policy is Awopegba (2001) who reviewed privatization of commercialized public enterprises in Nigeria and its implications for better efficiency, labour productivity, and enhanced human welfare. He concluded that government took over some essential services to achieve egalitarian benefit for the society. He mentions the case of Great Britain where privatization ushered in efficiency, reduction in labour and overhead costs. He concluded that privatization enhances efficiency through improved human factor, and encourages competition, efficiency and revenue for the nation. These are the crux of this study with particular case of Nigeria.
2.4 A CRITICAL APPRAISAL OF PRIVATIZATION IN NIGERIA In attempting a wider outlook of the issue, Adoga (2008) asserted that privatization has been defined by economic scholars and jurists to encompass a wide range of options for involvement of private capital and management in the running and operations of public enterprise. It may involve the total transfer of public ownership and asset structures to private companies. It may also be a conversion of public enterprises to private entities, or the incorporation of new private entities in place of public enterprises. Another option could be public-private participation in the running of public enterprises, which can be by management transfers, leases, operational concessions, development leases, build, operate and transfers etc.
2.5 PROS AND CONS OF PRIVATIZATION Privatization has several benefits. This, according to Adoga (2008) includes reduced government bureaucracy, reduced state monopolies and ensuring level playing fields. Others are reduced ineffective management, correct defective capital and financial structures, increase competitiveness, increase the quality of goods and services, reduce corruption and control by Government, increase staff quality and supervision, improve market analysis, free up government funds, create employment, re-invigorate the local economy, expand local businesses, attract direct foreign investments, expand capital markets, redistribute wealth, improve technological transfer, enhance trade control regulations etc.
Globally however, privatization has been engulfed with complex problems with each country having its own peculiar solutions. These problems include private firms concentrate on profit making to the detriment of essential public service, private firms render more expensive services, private firms fail to invest in infrastructure. They also reduce public workforce and experience. Meanwhile these problems range from country to country; he concluded that specific privatization models attract specific types of problems.
2.6 PRIVATIZATION OF PUBLIC ENTERPRISES IN NIGERIA The issues of privatization have been a subject of intense global in recent years (Nwoye 2001). In his work titled Management Practices and Performance Determinants of Public and Private Sector Enterprises in Anambra, Edo and Delta States of Nigeria: a Factor Analysis opined that in Africa, it has remained highly controversial and politically risky and that privatization in Nigeria has not been a popular reform as it has received so much criticism from diverse interest groups. Comparing the effectiveness of public versus private service delivery, the analysis shows no clear evidence that private service delivery is inherently more effective or less effective than public service delivery but rather that each sector has its own strengths and weaknesses. This study intends to assess more firms and their socio-economic impacts.
CHAPTER THREE 3.0 METHODOLOGY A study of this nature requires a relatively diverse and large volume of data and information required for answering the research questions and actualizing the research objectives. The approaches to realize this goes as follows:
3.1 DATA SOURCES 3.1.1 Primary Data will be sourced through reconnaissance surveys, direct observation, photographs, oral interviews, and administration of structured questionnaires to both employees and employers of the selected industries.
3.1.2 Secondary Data will be obtained from archival materials, which shall include publications such as books, journals, conference proceedings, company annual reports and government gazettes. Also electronically-posted data and information through the Internet is being sought.
3.2 SAMPLING TECHNIQUE 3.2.1 Sample Frame and Size The sample frame for this study is the 111 privatized public enterprises in Nigeria, from which the sample size will be drawn. The sample size shall be five prominent privatized enterprises in Nigeria. 10 percent sample size of each of them will be targeted for questionnaire administration. Complementary oral interviews will be scheduled with relevant senior management officials in each organization.
The intended sampling technique is the stratified and random sampling method. Stratified sampling method is a sample of a population that is proportionally representative of the different strata or interests in the survey. The workforce of the five organizations proposed for the study will also be stratified into three, viz: the management staff, the senior/intermediate, and the junior staff, all on proportional representation basis.
The research method being considered for the study is justified by the following considerations:
It gives accurate analytical and validity result;
It saves time and reduces cost;
The sample size will be able to produce a generalize result which can give insight to policy review, and open way for further scholarly research
The study will be capable of expanding the current frontiers of data, information, and knowledge on the privatization policy in Nigeria.
For the random sampling technique, the subjects in each stratum will be randomly selected as representative of that group. Prominent privatized business organizations in Nigeria and the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) will be targeted for sampling, using both primary and secondary data-gathering methods to elicit information on socio-economic characteristics, technology and infrastructure among others.
3.3 DATA ANALYSIS Data from the survey is expected to have dependent and independent variables. These will be carefully collated, coded and analyzed with the use of Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) Version 16. Both descriptive and inferential statistics would be used to analyze and depict most of the variables and their interrelationships.
CHAPTER FOUR 4.0 ANALYSIS 4.1 TIME SCALE AND RESOURCES As presented in Table 1, the research will span through a period of twelve weeks, covering the process of reconnaissance, data gathering, data processing, writing final report and submission. The research exercise will be distributed over four Research Assistants who would be employed, trained and mobilized for field work under the supervision of the Principal Researcher.
Table 1: Time Scale and Resources
ACTIVITY DURATION MANPOWER REQUIRED Reconnaissance
1 Week
**2
Recruitment and Orientation of Research Assistants
3 Days
*1
Data Gathering
2 Weeks
**4
Data Collation and Coding
1 Week
**3
Data Processing
2 weeks
*1
Report Writing
3 Weeks
*1
Data Cleaning and Editing
2 Weeks
** 2
Submission of Final Report
1 Day
*1
* = Principal Researcher only
** = Principal Researcher and the number of Research Assistants indicated
4.2 REFLECTIONS This study was motivated by the observed gap in the available research works on the socio-economic perspective of the privatization program in Nigeria. It is expected that this study will bridge the existing research gaps created by over-generalization by previous scholarly works. Such gaps stemmed out of the fact that earlier studies mingled Nigeria’s case with the larger global privatization issues without in-depth appraisal of the specific industries in national case. This study will expand the current frontier of insights, data base and knowledge required by academic scholars, investors, and policy makers in their respective development concerns.

Interaction nexus between real estate market and macroeconomics

In this chapter, I will review the existing researches about the interaction nexus between real estate market and macroeconomics while analyzing and summarizing the data structure and the methodologies used. Considering China’s specific national conditions and policies, I will shed light on Chinese housing empirical studies, and estimate their research from different economic aspects, expecting to provide a useful perspective for my further research.
Housing price is the price formed by both supply and demand sides in the real estate market. According to the fluctuations in property prices in each country, housing prices generally have three characteristics: periodicity, city differences, and bubble. Periodicity refers to how real estate price fluctuations are cyclically or periodically associated with both microeconomic and macroeconomics fluctuations.
Early in the 1960’s, after Richard Muth (1960) rigorously developed a housing market competitive theory, a lot of economist studied the housing market from the perspective of microeconomics. In 1969, under a lot of assumptions, Olsen (1969) found that if the housing market were perfectly competitive, the poor would not pay more per unit for housing. However, in the survey done by Richard Arnott (1987), which reviewed the microeconomic modeling of the housing sector developed at that time, it was found that even if the competitive theory of housing market is reasonably sophisticated and well developed, it is still hard to ascertain the adequacy of it in explaining the effects of a particular housing policy since there are no well-articulated alternative models.
Then, in later years, scholars focused more on the study of the relationship between the real estate market and macroeconomic fundamentals. According to business cycle theory, there is interaction between real estate prices and macroeconomic fundamental variables. One or more macroeconomic variables will cause fluctuations in real estate prices, but, in the meantime, changes in the real estate industry also will lead to macroeconomic volatility. In the change process, they formed a mutually reinforcing interaction mechanism. On the basis of the existing literature, macroeconomics affect real estate prices primarily through the real estate supply and demand, which can be subdivided into GDP, income, consumption, interest rates, exchange rates, inflation, construction costs, land prices, bank credit, and other basic economic variables. In order to understand the impact of real estate price fluctuations on the macroeconomics, most existing studies analyzed from the perspective that the prices affect total consumption and total investment.
Since there is a close relationship between real estate prices and macroeconomic volatility, the empirical research of their interactive relationship has always been very important in the field of economics. At present, the relevant research literatures can be divided into two categories: (a) The first type mainly analyzes the relationship between real estate prices and the whole macroeconomic fundamentals; (b) The second type analyzes the relationship between real estate prices and one or several specific macro-basic variables (GDP, income, interest rates, investment and so on). We will now detail the two types.
2.2 Housing prices and macroeconomic fundamentals
The real estate industry has become a mature industry in many developed countries. According to existing literature, most of the economists’ empirical research is derived primarily from the perspective of equilibrium theory. Based on the traditional regression analysis model, they used more independent linear systems, numerical economic models and others to analyze the dataGenerally speaking, the macroeconomic fundamentals will affect the investment, credit, and also, the change of interest rate will affect the supply of real estate. On the other hand, economic growth will affect the income and thus affect the demand for real estate. According to equilibrium theory, under the market competition mechanism, the market will eventually be cleared through real estate prices.
However, Case and Shiller(1987, 1989, 1990) found that the housing market does not appear to be very efficient; it is contrary to the efficient market hypothesis. Then, in Clapp and Giaccotto’s study (1994), they not only confirmed Case and Shiller’s (1987, 1989, 1990) result but also found macroeconomic changes have a good predictive ability for real estate prices. Clapp and Giaccotto (1994) used the data of East Hartford, Manchester, and West Hartford over the period from October 1, 1981, to September 30, 1988, with 2 methods: the repeat sales method and the assessed value (AV) method. They found that the local unemployment and expected inflation have considerable forecasting ability for the housing prices; and compare with the first-time house, the repeat housing index is more sensitive in the short run due to the lagged economic factors; It showed the housing market does not meet the efficient market hypothesis (Clapp and Giaccotto, 1994).
With a much longer data set than common literature, Holly and Jones (1997) provided a more comprehensive perspective on the behavior of housing prices in UK. In order to seek the co-integrating relationships between housing prices and long run, they ran a regression with the housing prices and economic factors such as real income, the user cost, and building society lending. The results showed that, with the exception of population, almost all the factors were rejected at the 1% level in the unit root test, and that the most important determinant of real housing prices was real income; the dynamic adjustment of housing prices is asymmetrical; it depends on whether housing prices are below or above the long run equilibrium. When housing prices are above equilibrium, they seem to adjust back more quickly (Holly and Jones, 1997).
But, Brown, Haiyan, and McGillivray (1997) thought that since the early 1980s, the UK housing market had suffered a number of structural changes; consequently, the parameter was instable, meaning those models that assume the underling data-generating process are not appropriate. Under an assumption that the economic system is unstable, they adopted the Time Varying Coefficient (TVC) methodology, and found TVC specification outperforms the alternative constant parameter specifications of housing prices. Because most of the models have failed to predict the 1992 housing price downturn, part of further research was planned to use the TVC specification to examine the model’s forecasting ability beyond 1992.
Using the data in the past 25 years of 6 European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK), Iacoviello (2002) established dynamics of house prices by using a tractable value at risk framework in a straightforward way, which we call SVAR model. He pointed out that house price inflation is highly sensitive to the forces driving economic fluctuations; different housing and credit market institutions play different role in the IS-LM Phillips curve paradigm, but this relationship might change with the changing of institutions; in addition, regulatory legal structure and new monetary policy also will affect that relationship (Iacoviello, 2002). Similarly, using the SVAR model, DeHaant and Sterken (2004) studied 13 developed countries’ real estate markets. Their results showed that, to one country, compared with stock, housing plays a more important role in consumption and output; when housing price raise 1%, consumption will raise 0.75%; when housing price raise 1.5%, GDP will raise 0.4% (DeHaant and Sterken, 2004).
In the Asian market, Quigley (2002) pointed out that, although most of the existed models can generate patterns of housing price changes over time in response to varying conditions in economic fundamentals, there was little research on the effect of changes in property markets upon subsequent economic conditions. With his empirical study, he determined that economic fundamentals do not explain most of the variation in the housing prices in short run, and that there were many bubbles in Asian property market during the late 1990’s (Quigley, 2002). At the same time, Miki Seko (2003) adopted the SVAR model to analyze the Japanese housing prices. In his paper, the results showed there is a strong relationship between Japanese housing market and it’s economic fundamentals; and by analyzing the economic factors, the development of the real estate market can be predicted (Miki Seko, 2003).
It is clear that housing is not just a normal consumption goods, it is a large share of the overall macro-economy. Significant fluctuations in macro-economy would cause significant volatility in housing market. On the other hand, the volatility in housing market also implies the fluctuations in macro-economy. However, the interactive nexus between housing market and the different aspects of macro-economy is different. Thus, besides the studies that analyzed the macro fundamentals-housing market, some economists study from different angles to examine the interactive nexus between housing market and one or several specified macro variables.
2.3 macro-basic variables
2.3.1 Supply and demand
Theoretically, price is determined by supply and demand sides. In the housing market, the relationship between supply and demand is formed by many macroeconomic factors, and with the changes in these factors, supply and demand continues to change. Therefore, some economists thought the greatest impact on housing prices comes from the supply and demand, and have dedicated their research in this area.
Normally, in the real estate industry, the supply side is mainly affected by land price, facilities costs, construction tax, construction exploration and design cost, and so on. And, among them, land price is the most important factor.
Since housing is a product, it is not just a demand price, but also a supply price. In the real estate economic activities, land purchase and development is the beginning and the foundation, and land purchase cost is the most important part of housing costs. From the supply perspective, the land price fluctuations are an important factor in housing price volatility. On the contrary, due to land supply is restricted by the natural; there is a lack of flexibility. Therefore, land price is mainly decided by its demand side, which is mainly composed by the real estate business. The real estate industry has a huge impact on the land market as well.
In order to examine the interactive nexus between housing price and land price, Peng and Wheaton (1994) analyzed the Hong Kong market. Because Hong Kong is a small island with a fixed boundary, it would be clear what the influence of land supply on housing prices. Using a modified stock-flow model, their results showed that the supply restrictions in Hong Kong have caused higher housing prices but not lower housing output (Peng and Wheaton, 1994). Similar outcomes can be found in Alyousha and Tsoukis’ (1999) study. They employed the quarterly data from England and Wales from the period Q1, 1981-Q2, 1994 to explore the implications of intertemporal optimization for house and land prices (Alyousha and Tsoukis, 1999).
Adopting a simple housing flow supply model, which is based on the Euler equation (Hall, 1978), they found that, under a perfect competition, house prices are co-integrated with land prices and house building costs. But, through the Granger test, Hall (1987) found housing price is not the land price’s cause. Also, after an econometric analysis of American cities, Edward, Joseph and Hilber (2002) determined that land price was positively correlated with regional economic development, the level of human capital, and have no direct relationship with housing price.
As for demand side, existing research usually examined from the aspects which are disposable income, GDP, property taxation, population and so on. There is a large diverse literature related to the housing and taxation because it is clearly that property taxation would directly affect the housing purchasing decisions, and further affect the housing demand. Just like United States, the tax system seems to favor housing ownership in many countries. Thus, Dimasi (1987) employed a computable, spatial general equilibrium model; and found out that differential tax treatment on land and capital can cause a significant social welfare loss. Many other general equilibrium models also found out tax policies that favor the housing sector would lead to a significantly negative impact on both housing sector and aggregate income.
From another special perspective, Mankiw and Weil (1989) examined the relations between demography-induced changes in housing demand and real house prices in the United States. They thought that the “Baby Boom generation” into its house-buying ages was the major cause of the increase in housing prices in the 1970s and the housing demand would grow more slowly in the next decade because of the population structure. Changes in housing demand will further affect the housing price (Mankiw and Weil, 1989)). However, unlike the estimations of Mankiw and Weil (1989), Gary and James (1990) using postwar data from Canada, and found that even if the demographic patterns were similar in Canada and United States, the aggregate time series correlation between shifting demographics and real house prices is distinctly different. From the empirical analysis, they considered there is a statistically insignificant, but in most cases, demographic demand is negative associated with house prices (Gary and James, 1990).
2.3.2 Monetary policy
Generally speaking, as an overall policy, monetary policy is mainly concerned to control the trend and fluctuations of aggregate demand; the impact on the real estate market and the sensitivity of the housing price should be limited. However, as the changing in the structure of global financial markets and developing in real estate industry, the nexus between them has become more and more close, financial sector has become an important reference index in the housing market. It is also proved in Alan, John and Brian’s (2005) study. They found, in eighteen major industrial countries, certain financial conditions (ample liquidity, low interest rates, and financial deregulation) were usually present in past housing price surges, and could conceivably raise the probability of the intensity or the occurrence of the rise.
As for interest rate, considering from the supply side, when it decline, real estate investment and real estate mortgage loans will continuously pour into the real estate industry, and promote housing prices continuing to rise. But, as for the demand side increasing in interest rates will directly affect consumer’s credit repayment costs; so that some consumers would out of the housing market, which affecting the real estate demand, and further led to corresponding changes in real estate prices. By studying the impact of real and nominal interest rates on real estate prices, Harris (1989) thought that changes in real interest rates could explain the market price level; nominal interest rates affect housing price only when the real estate value is expected to rise.
Among the monetary policy, bank credit and investment are the most important determinates. As the real estate industry is capital-intensive industry, and most of the funds come from the bank credit and investment, the change in bank load will significantly affect the supply of real estate industry. Besides, a large part of real estate loans are mortgage loans, the value of real estate products in the market determines the size of the loan amount in this industry. In 2004, Davis and Zhu (2004) discovered, in the long term, bank credit is positively correlated with house prices, and effect of housing price on the bank credit is very significant, but in their paper, the reverse impact was still uncertain.
Matteo (2005) developed and estimated a monetary business cycle model with nominal loans and collateral constraints tied to housing values. Since collateral effects allow the model match the positive response of real spending to a housing prices shock, Matteo (2005) found fall in the housing prices will reinforced the impact negative monetary shock on real rate, consumption and output. Similarly, based on the Hong Kong sample, Gerlach and Peng’s (2005) thought property prices would determine bank lending, but, it was interesting that they found bank lending does not appear to influence property prices in Hong Kong.
2.3.3 Cycles
Empirical evidence shows that there is a cyclical movements and volatility in the housing market, and obviously, this kind of cyclical movements would relate to the economic cycles. Economics found that it would be useful and interesting to explore these movements in the housing market, thus many studies examined the housing-economy cycle relationship from both qualitative and quantitative aspects. Greenwood and Hercowitz (1991) and Baxter (1996) build up a dynamic general equilibrium models to reproduce the co-movement of business and residential investment that observed in the US. Davis and Heathcote (2001) also considered that, in the US, the residential investment lead the cycle while the non-residential investment lags the cycle, and this co-movement between housing market and macro-economy has been documented for several countries.
Also, economics often analyze real property market tie to “long cycles”. Gottlieb (1976) considered, the amplitudes of housing cycles are larger than typical business cycles, and the periodicity might be significantly longer than those of the business cycle. For instance, Ball (1998) showed, in UK, new commercial property cycles have a 10 years duration while they are independent of the business cycle. Employing the cross-country data and the Kalman Filter technique, Ball (1999) again found significant long cycles of new construction, which with periodicity of 20-30 years in both residential and non-residential real estate markets.
As we can see, the importance and sensitivity of real estate prices attracted a large number of scholars to concerned. Based on the review above, the existing literatures are mainly adopting the cross-section data and time series data, so that the specific econometric methods of housing models are mostly focusing on: traditional ordinary least squares model (OLS), value at risk model (VAR), tractable value at risk framework in a straightforward way (SVAR), co-integration and so on.
2.4 Empirical evidence in the Chinese context
Compare with developed countries, Chinese real estate market started relatively late. But along with China’s rapid economic development, the real estate industry is also showing a good development trend. As real estate investment occupies a very high proportion of total investment in fixed assets, and the volatility in real estate market is closely related to macroeconomic and national policy, the issue of housing prices is not only related to a city’s development, but also related to financial security and the living cost of ordinary people. Thus, Chinese economists have also attached great importance to the development of the real estate market, and conducted extensive research. However, since the late development of China’s statistical system, the database is not perfect, most of the Chinese scholars just analyzed the relationship between housing market and macroeconomic theoretically, empirical studies are relatively small.
2.4.1 Fundamentals
First, because of the importance impact of macro fundamentals on real estate prices, using appropriate data and models to estimate the nexus between them has always been the focus of Chinese economists. Adopting the housing index and macro fundamental data (1995-2002) of 14 cities, Shen and Liu (2004) employed a mixed regression, and empirically examined the relationship between housing prices and economic fundamentals. The results showed the impact of macro fundamentals on housing market is quite different in different cities. The explain model was significant affected by the city characteristics (Shen and Liu, 2004).
Song and Wei (2009) using a co-integration and vector error modified model, and considered that, in long run, there is a long-term stability of the dynamic equilibrium between real estate prices and macroeconomic; but when short-term imbalances, it becomes into a negative feedback mechanism. Song and Wei (2009) also found that fluctuation of GDP and inflation is the Granger cause of housing price volatility and the impact of interest rates is not significant. Based on partial least-squares regression (PLS), Wang and Xie (2010) estimate the annual data of China within the period of 1999-2008. They thought land prices, capital size and national wealth are the top three factors that affect China’s price changes at present; although the influence of long/middle-term loan rate is weak, money supply do play a very prominent role in China’s housing prices volatility (Wang and Xie, 2010).
In addition to the analysis of real estate market and macro fundamentals, Chinese economists also studied the housing market from different economic perspective and tie to their own national circumstances and policies.
2.4.2 Land price
As the reforming of Chinese housing system and land system, the housing sales prices were climbing higher and higher until the financial crisis in 2008, but, after a short depression, the price still maintain the rising trend. General view is that, due to the land purchase cost is the main cost which constitute the housing costs, high land prices is the main reason of high housing prices. Especially after the Ministry of Land Resources released two new policy [1] of land sale, more people think that the skyrocketed of housing prices is because of the high land prices. The policies require that any commercial, tourist, entertainment, commercial housing and other kinds of business land must be transferred by tender, auction or listing mode. After the new land policies, the land transfer cost rose sharply; and almost in the same period, the housing prices have skyrocketed as well.
Thus, from the point of view of China Real Estate Association, Yang (2003), Bao (2004) and Cheng (2004) thought since a large number of land transactions using auctions, land prices increased dramatically. And land purchase costs account for 30% percent of the housing prices, hence construction costs raised, further driving a rapidly rise in housing prices; this “Cost-push theory” was also supported by a large number of real estate developers (Yang, 2003; Bao, 2004; Cheng, 2004). But, Ministry of Land Resources hold the opposite view. Deputy Minister Fu (2006) considered that even if the tender, auction or listing transaction mode will lead an increase in land prices, it might not raise the housing price, the most important factor affecting housing prices is still supply and demand in the housing market. On the contrary, Fu (2006) thought, land is a production factor of real estate industry; the demand for land is generated by the demand for housing, therefore, huge demand in housing market and the rapidly increase in housing prices makes demand for land, and further drive the land prices rise.
However, Wang and Wu (2009) did not agree both of them. Employing the panel data from 28 regions, they found, in China, although land prices promoting housing prices in long-run and housing prices driving an increase in land prices in both long-run and short-run, this mechanism depends on the region. Wand and Wu (2009) thought that the interaction between land prices and housing prices is different in different regions, so the relationship between them should be implement regional studies and cannot be generalized.
2.4.3 Bank credit
After the 1997 Asian financial crisis, in order to stimulate economic growth, China implemented a proactive fiscal and monetary policy: repeatedly issued bonds, reduced interest rates several times, vigorously infrastructure; real estate industry become a national priority support industry and the financial sector continue to increase the real estate credit. But until now, China’s banking system is still not perfect; most of the loans are mortgage loans, therefore, value of real estate products in the market will directly determine the size of credit.
Typically, the credit will play two roles in the housing market. If the real estate prices cyclical rising, since financial institutions anticipate the housing prices can keep rising in the following, banks will relax lending conditions, thus, the increasing housing prices will directly lead to the upswing in real estate bank credit. Because of land and real estate products supply is very inelastic in the short-term, to some extent, the upswing in real estate bank credit will further push up house prices increase. By the same token, the decline in house prices leads to a decline in the quality of bank assets, reduce the size of bank funds, so banks will abate the amount of credit, which will further decrease the housing prices.
Based on the panel data of credit and housing market, Li (2004) considered that among China’s current macro-economic control policy, credit policy play the most significant role in the real estate market. He also believed the flexibility of supply side and demand side is different, so the impact of monetary policy on the supply is greater than that on demand (Li, 2004). Employing the error correction model and VAR model, Zhong and Yan (2009) thought that there existed a stable equilibrium relationship between the volatility of real estate prices and credit in long-run. After the Granger test, Zhong and Yan (2009) found real estate prices and the amount of real estate credit influence each other and they both are the Granger cause for each other. Studying on the East Asian financial crisis, Xiang and Li (2005) also believed bank credit expansion played a very important role in the formation of the real estate bubble in East Asian countries. Thus, in order to ensure the health of China’s real estate development, it should strengthen the financial system construction and regulation (Xiang and Li, 2005).
2.4.4 Others
In addition, through calculating the Lerner index [2] (Lerner, 1934) of the real estate market in China, Li (2005) considered the level of monopoly in China’s real estate market is very high. Even if as the market economy developing, the competition in the real estate market will gradually get better, but this process will be very slow (Li, 2005). And from another special perspective, Yin (2010) thought the existence of North paradox [3] behavior (North, 1981) in the local government is an important cause of housing price fluctuations. Local government is lack of intrinsic motivation to stabilize the real estate market; local government’s various “rescue” policies are also mainly based on the purpose of obtain more land transfer fees; thus just depends on local governments’ behavior can not maintain healthy and sustainable development of the real estate market, the central government should implement more effective macroeconomic policies (Yin, 2010).
Comparing with foreign literatures, China’s real estate market research also adopting cross-section data, time series data, especially panel data. Relevant econometric methods are: co-integration approach, Granger test, error correction model (ECM), and panel data model; in the meantime, the analysis about the impact of macroeconomic policy is also Chinese economists’ priority concerns.
2.5 Deficiencies
However, for the following aspects, China’s research is still inadequate:
The studies on macroeconomic policy are more focused on the theoretical analysis; they are lack of a comprehensive empirical analysis.
Currently, the analysis of macroeconomic fluctuations is mainly under an assumption of closed economy. But, with economic globalization, China’s real estate market will be more affected by international economic development, so the discussion of the relationship between the real estate prices and macro economic fluctuations that under an open economy is more meaningful.
There is no analysis of government expenditure in China’s real estate literatures. However, according to macroeconomic theory, government investment will promote private investment, thereby affecting the real estate investment and price. So, the empirical quantitative estimation about the real estate prices and government spending will contribute to the in-depth analysis of the relationship between the government and the real estate market.

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