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Researches so far have examined mainly how the soft budget constraint syndrome appears in the corporate sphere and the credit system. This article concentrates on the hospital sector. It describes the motivations and the contradictory behaviour of the five main types of participant in the events: patients, doctors, hospital managers, politicians, and hospital owners. The motivations explain why the propensity to overspend and the tendency to soften the budget constraint are so strong. The burdens of overspending and indebtedness are pushed upwards at every level of the decision-making and funding processes. The article considers the connection between the soft budget constraint syndrome and the various forms of ownership (state ownership and the non-profit and for-profit forms of non-state ownership). Finally, the phenomenon is examined from the normative point of view: what are the favourable and unfavourable consequences of hardening the budget constraint and how these are reflected in the consciousness of the participants in the normative dilemmas and events.
Many theoretical and empirical efforts have been made since Modigliani and Miller's infamous 'irrelevance theorem' to explain how firms choose their capital structure. Empirical tests can be performed by different methods, but attention must be paid to problems of a primarily methodological nature, which may distort results. The aim of the study is to apply a simple model to demonstrating the differences and similarities between capital-structure decisions by Austrian and Hungarian public listed companies. The findings show that the capital structure of listed firms in both countries can be explained by what can be called the standard explanatory variables used widely in the literature. The models have an acceptable adjusted coefficient of determination, ranging between 30 and 34 per cent. The leverage ratio of Hungarian firms is influenced most importantly by their profitability, whilst in the case of Austrian firms, it is the growth rate that has the strongest impact. Based on the results, the author argues that the pecking-order theory seems to have a somewhat better explanatory power for the capital structures of big firms in the two countries than the static trade-off model does. However, it looks as if the financing behaviour in the two countries is different. Further investigations would be needed to clarify the underlying causes of this difference.
The cash in circulation within network industries such as post-office services can represent a sizeable quantity of operating capital. The Hungarian Post Office, besides handling mail, handles a significant amount of cash turnover, forwarding pensions, welfare benefits, and cash orders. Fluctuation in the daily volume of these is a strong factor in determining the company's liquidity requirements. The management of cash in post offices is governed by rules of thumb that operate well; the regulations leave decision-making scope for the diverse individual actors in the network. Attention has to be paid to individual cash holding when determining the corporate operating capital. The study suggests a new methodology for modelling the individual cash-holding habits, and goes on to group the behaviour patterns by analysing the connection between cash holding, level of corporate operating capital, and corporate liquidity position.
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