Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Yu Liu

Second Advisor

Dr. Diego Escobari

Third Advisor

Dr. Siamak Javadi


This dissertation consists of three essays on finance of ownership and COVID-19. In the first essay, we investigate the effect of residual state ownership, foreign ownership, and the interaction between the two on firms' financing patterns. we find that neither firms with residual state ownership only nor firms with foreign ownership only are positively related with external finance. In comparison, firms with both state and foreign ownerships are associated with higher external finance. The increased external finance for firms with both state and foreign ownerships mainly comes from private banks and new equity. Moreover, we explore the channels through which residual state ownership and/or foreign ownership affect firms' financing patterns. Firms with residual state ownership only or foreign ownership only do not actively expand in the market or innovate their products. While firms with both state and foreign ownerships are eagerly engaging in market expansion and product innovation.

In the second essay, we examine the impact of foreign ownership on firm productivity in private firms. We find strong and robust evidence that foreign ownership is positively related to firm productivity. We then explore possible channels through which foreign ownership could impact firm productivity. Firms with foreign ownership are more likely to engage in innovation, telecommunication, and labor cost reduction, and less likely to face financial constraints. Moreover, the foreign-productivity relationship is more pronounced in medium/large firms than in small firms. Countries with medium institutional development or collectivistic countries stand to benefit more from foreign investment than countries with either low or high institutional development or individualistic countries do.

In the third essay, we analyze the effects of firm ownership and country governance on firm survival and growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Analyzing World Bank Enterprise Follow-up Surveys on COVID-19 that cover 44 countries as of March 2022, we document three sets of findings. (1) During the pandemic, firms with state ownership and parental ownership are more likely to survive and grow, whereas firms with foreign ownership are similar to other firms in terms of firm survival and growth. (2) State ownership and parental ownership, which do not have significant impacts on firm growth in normal times, significantly improve firm growth in pandemic times. Our study is one of the frontier types of research emphasizing that the same factor may have a distinct impact on firm performance at different times. (3) Country governance quality is positively linked to the odds for firm survival but negatively linked to firm growth, which indicates that efficient governments focus more on the firm survival, therefore prevent unemployment, and accept the decline of firm growth.


Copyright 2022 Jian Xu. All Rights Reserved.

Included in

Economics Commons