Propping and Tunneling
Eric Friedman, Simon Johnson, Todd Mitton
NBER Working Paper No. 9949
In countries with weak legal systems, there is a great deal of tunnelling by the entrepreneurs who control publicly traded firms. However, under some conditions entrepreneurs prop up their firms, i.e., they use their private funds to benefit minority shareholders. We provide evidence and a model that explains propping. In particular, we suggest that issuing debt can credibly commit an entrepreneur to propping, even though creditors can never take possession of any underlying collateral. This helps to explain why emerging markets with weak institutions sometimes grow rapidly and why they are also subject to frequent economic and financial crises.
Published: Friedman, Eric, Simon Johnson and Todd Mitton. "Propping And Tunneling," Journal of Comparative Economics, 2003, v31(4,Dec), 732-750.