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Labor Earnings in One-Company Towns: Theory and Evidence from Kazakhstan

Listed author(s):
  • Rama, Martin
  • Scott, Kinnon

One-company towns, characterized by the presence of a large employer in a local labor market, are a frequent legacy of state-led development strategies. How will downsizing or closing unprofitable state-owned enterprises affect these towns? This article develops a simple model combining monopsony power in the labor market with a Keynesian closure of the product market and uses it to interpret the findings of previous studies. The article evaluates the impact of the company's employment level on the town's labor earnings in Kazakhstan, where one-company towns are still prevalent. The evaluation is based on data from the 1996 Living Standards Measurement Survey. The results show that labor earnings in the town decrease roughly 1.5 percent when the share of its population working for the company decreases 1 percent. The results are robust to changes in the definition of labor earnings and to the inclusion of a variety of other community characteristics in the analysis. These results and the theoretical model are combined to evaluate the welfare impact of company downsizing and, consequently, to derive the optimal extent of labor retrenchment. Copyright 1999 by Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal World Bank Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 13 (1999)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 185-209

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:13:y:1999:i:1:p:185-209
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