Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



M10 - Business Administration: General, M20 - Business Economics: General, O30 - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights: General, O31 - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives


We investigate the degree to which corporate governance and ownership affects the innovation performance of firms in China with a particular focus on privately owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs). We hypothesize that (1) board-related governance measures will enhance innovation because they improve monitoring and provide access to necessary resources; (2) ownership concentration initially facilitates innovation because large shareholders are more likely to commit to the long-term nature of innovation, and have the incentive to monitor managers whose time horizon may be shorter; however we argue that these effects weaken as large shareholders becomes entrenched at higher levels of concentration; and (3) hiring an external CEO will enhance innovation both by ensuring professional management of the company, and by alleviating the entrenchment possibilities associated with large shareholders. These hypotheses are tested using a unique sample of 370 mostly private and relatively small Chinese firms in Zhejiang province, for the period 2004 to 2006. The results suggest that for this sample, corporate governance and ownership affect innovation activity when measured by patenting activity, but not when measured by new product sales.