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How much unemployment is needed for restructing: the Russian experience

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  • Richard Layard
  • Andrea Richter

Abstract

Open unemployment in Russia has been growing very slowly - by only about 1 percentage point a year. This is mainly because of a degree of wage flexibility unknown in the West. Comparing industries over a two year period we find that, if relative employment fell by 10%, relative wages fell by 24%. Redundancies have been very low - only 1.5% of the work force in 1993. There has, however been a substantial redeployment of labour job to job movement - with a hiring rate of 21% of the workforce in 1993. The paper then discusses the reasons for this wage flexibility - in terms of the unemployment aversion of workers and the financial and other incentives facing managers. Finally, it appraises the 'Russian way' and argues that it is better than having large-scale open unemployment, provided the under-employed workers kept in enterprises do not impede the internal restructuring of the enterprises.
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  • Richard Layard & Andrea Richter, 1995. "How much unemployment is needed for restructing: the Russian experience," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 3(1), pages 39-58, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:etrans:v:3:y:1995:i:1:p:39-58
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0351.1995.tb00197.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Layard, Richard, 1982. "Is Incomes Policy the Answer to Unemployment?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 49(195), pages 219-239, August.
    2. Philippe Aghion & Olivier Jean Blanchard, 1994. "On the Speed of Transition in Central Europe," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1994, Volume 9, pages 283-330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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