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Barter in Transition Economies: Competing Explanations Confront Ukranian Data

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  • Dalia Marin
  • Daniel Kaufmann
  • Bogdan Gorochowskij

Abstract

In this paper we survey the common explanations of barter in transition economies and expose them to detailed survey data on 165 barter deals in Ukraine in 1997. The evidence does not support the notion that soft budget constraints, lack of restructuring, or that the virtual economy are the driving forces behind barter. Further, tax avoidance is only weakly associated with the incidence of barter in Ukraine. We then explore an alternative explanation of barter as a mechanism to address transitional challenges where capital markets and economic institutions are poorly developed. First, barter helps to maintain production by creating a deal-specific collateral which softens the liquidity squeeze in the economy when credit enforcement is prohibitively costly. Second, barter helps to maintain production by preventing firms to be exploited by their input suppliers when suppliers' bargaining position is very strong due to high costs of switching suppliers. Thus, in the absence of trust and functioning capital markets barter is a self-enforcing response to imperfect input and financial markets in the former Soviet Union. The paper concludes by discussing potential long-term costs of barter arrangements, and by suggesting particular pitfalls of expansionary monetary policy in barter economies such as Ukraine and Russia.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan in its series William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series with number 287.

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Length: pages
Date of creation: 01 Jan 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2000-287

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Keywords: financial crisis; trust; contract enforcement in transition; arrears; the virtual economy; imperfect capital markets;

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References

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  1. Perotti, E. C., 1998. "Inertial credit and opportunistic arrears in transition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(9), pages 1703-1725, November.
  2. Williamson, Oliver E, 1983. "Credible Commitments: Using Hostages to Support Exchange," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 519-40, September.
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Cited by:
  1. José Noguera & Susan J. Linz, 2005. "Barter, Credit, and Welfare: A theoretical inquiry into the barter phenomenon in Russia," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp757, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  2. Howells, Mark I. & Jonsson, Sandra & Käck, Emilia & Lloyd, Philip & Bennett, Kevin & Leiman, Tony & Conradie, Beatrice, 2010. "Calabashes for kilowatt-hours: Rural energy and market failure," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 2729-2738, June.
  3. Juan Pineiro Chousa & Haider A. Khan & Davit Melikyan & Artur Tamazian, 2004. "Assessing Institutional Efficiency, Growth and Integration," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-285, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  4. Richard B. Goud Jr., 2002. "Inter-Firm Non-Monetary Transactions in Russia: A Literature Review," Development and Comp Systems 0207001, EconWPA.
  5. Kim, Byung-Yeon & Pirttilä, Jukka & Rautava, Jouko, 2001. "Money, Barter and Inflation in Russia," BOFIT Discussion Papers 15/2001, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
  6. Vlad Ivanenko, 2004. "Access to liquidity and non-monetary trade in Russia," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(1), pages 21-38.
  7. Vlad Ivanenko & Dmitry Mikheyev, 2002. "The Role of Non-monetary Trade in Russian Transition," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(4), pages 405-419.
  8. Dalia Marin & Monika Schnitzer, 2000. "Disorganization and Financial Collapse," CESifo Working Paper Series 339, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Luoana D. Santarossa, 2001. "Arrears as a Sign of Financial Repression in Transition Economies - The Case of Romania," CERT Discussion Papers 0104, Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University.
  10. Haizhou Huang & Dalia Marin & Chenggang Xu, 2003. "Financial Crisis, Economic Recovery and Banking Development in Former Soviet Union Economies," CESifo Working Paper Series 860, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Marek Gora & Grzegorz Kula & Magdalena Rokicka & Oleksandr Rohozynsky & Anna Ruzik, 2008. "Social Security, Labour Market and Restructuring: Current Situation and Expected Outcomes of Reforms," ESCIRRU Working Papers 5, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  12. Hellman, Joel S. & Jones, Geraint & Kaufmann, Daniel & Schankerman, Mark, 2000. "Measuring governance, corruption, and State capture - how firms and bureaucrats shape the business environment in transition economies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2312, The World Bank.

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