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"Mass Privatisation and the Post-Communist Mortality Crisis": Is There Really a Relationship?

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  • John S. Earle

    (W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and Central European University)

  • Scott Gehlbach

    (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

Abstract

We reexamine the well-publicized claim that "rapid mass privatisation [of state-owned enterprises] . . . was a crucial determinant of differences in adult mortality trends in postcommunist countries" (Stuckler, King and McKee, 2009). Our analysis shows that the estimated correlation of privatization and mortality in country-level data is not robust to recomputing the mass-privatization measure, to assuming a short lag for economic policies to affect mortality, and to controlling for country-specific mortality trends. Further, in an analysis of the determinants of mortality in Russian regions, we find no evidence that privatization increased mortality during the early 1990s. Finally, we reanalyze the relationship between privatization and unemployment in postcommunist countries, showing that there is little support for the proposed mechanism by which privatization might have increased mortality.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in its series Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles with number 10-162.

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Date of creation: Feb 2010
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Handle: RePEc:upj:weupjo:10-162

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Keywords: privatization; mortality; health; shock therapy; unemployment; Eastern Europe; Former Soviet Union; Lancet;

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Cited by:
  1. Gerry, Christopher J., 2012. "The journals are full of great studies but can we believe the statistics? Revisiting the Mass Privatisation – Mortality Debate," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 14-22.

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