The handover in Hong Kong: Impact on business formation

G.R. Carroll, M. Feng, J.G. Kuilman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
630 Downloads (Pure)


Although the 1997 handover of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to China was a major political transformation, its impact on new business formation has not been fully scrutinized. Theory suggests contradictory forces may operate before, during, and after such a transformation: either a decline due to uncertainty or an increase due to opportunities created. To determine which force dominated, we first decomposed the analysis by the size of major
affected social groups, then analyzed the expected impact. This led us to predict an aggregate depression of business formation, although this effect likely showed great variation and attenuated over time. Our empirical assessment relied
on detailed monthly records of business registrations from 1975 to 2013, using GARCH time series modeling to analyze total registrations as well as the proportions for local and non-local businesses. Controlling for macro socioeconomic conditions, we find the registration rate dropped significantly throughout the post-handover era, implying a dominance of uncertainty. Further, new registrations displayed higher volatility following the 1984 announcement of the handover, reflecting shifting public sentiment in the interim about Hong Kong’s economic prospects. We also find a post-handover
preference for forming non-local firms with higher asset mobility; this preference diminishes with time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-396
JournalSociological Science
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014


  • Hong Kong handover
  • political transformation
  • business foundings


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