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Community Norms and Organizational Practices: The Legitimization of Wage Arrears in Russia, 1992-1999

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  • John S. Earle
  • Andrew Spicer
  • Klara Sabirianova Peter

    ()

Abstract

What role do community norms play in the diffusion and persistence of new organizational practices? We explore this question through an examination of the widespread practice of wage arrears, the late and nonpayment of wages, in Russia during the 1990s. Existing research on wage arrears most often examines this practice as a means of flexible wage adjustment under difficult economic conditions. We develop an alternative theory that explains wage arrears through their acceptance as a legitimate form of organizational behavior within local communities. Our empirical analysis finds some support for the neoclassical position that wage arrears reflect adjustment to negative shocks, but this perspective fails to account for a number of important facts, including a high level of arrears among apparently successful firms. In contrast, our results find strong support for the institutional perspective. The statistical analysis demonstrates powerful and robust community effects both in firm adoption of this practice, controlling for firm performance, liquidity, and fixed firm effects, and in workers’ reaction to arrears, through their quit (exit) and strike (voice) behavior.

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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 2004-641.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: 01 Jan 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2004-641

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Keywords: institutions; norms; legitimacy; arrears; organizational practices; sociology; Russia;

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References

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  1. Lehmann, Hartmut & Wadsworth, Jonathan & Acquisti, Alessandro, 1999. "Grime and Punishment: Job Insecurity and Wage Arrears in the Russian Federation," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 595-617, December.
  2. Robert H. Topel & Michael P. Ward, 1988. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," NBER Working Papers 2649, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Farber, Henry S, 1994. "The Analysis of Interfirm Worker Mobility," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(4), pages 554-93, October.
  4. Farber, Henry S., 1999. "Mobility and stability: The dynamics of job change in labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 37, pages 2439-2483 Elsevier.
  5. North, Douglass C, 1994. "Economic Performance through Time," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 359-68, June.
  6. John S. Earle & Klara Z. Sabirianova, 2002. "How Late to Pay? Understanding Wage Arrears in Russia," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(3), pages 661-707, July.
  7. Richard Layard & Ansgar Richter, 1995. "How Much Unemployment is Needed for Restructuring?: The Russian Experience," CEP Discussion Papers dp0238, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. Pencavel, John H, 1972. "Wages, Specific Training, and Labor Turnover in US Manufacturing Industries," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 13(1), pages 53-64, February.
  9. Earle, John S. & Peter, Klara Sabirianova, 2000. "Equilibrium Wage Arrears: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Institutional Lock-In," IZA Discussion Papers 196, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Poirier, Dale J., 1991. "Editor's introduction," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1-2), pages 1-4.
  11. G. Alfandari & M.E. Schaffer, 1996. ""Arrears" in the Russian Enterprise Sector," CERT Discussion Papers 9608, Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University.
  12. Lehmann, Hartmut & Wadsworth, Jonathan & Acquisti, Alessandro, 1999. "Grime and Punishment: Insecurity and Wage Arrears in the Russian Federation," IZA Discussion Papers 65, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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Cited by:
  1. Danzer, Alexander M., 2011. "Labor Supply and Consumption Smoothing When Income Shocks Are Non-Insurable," IZA Discussion Papers 5499, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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