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Nonstandard Forms and Measures of Employment and Unemployment in Transition: A Comparative Study of Estonia, Romania, and Russia


  • J David Brown

    ([1] Heriot-Watt University, UK [2] CEU Labor Project, Hungary [3] IZA, Germany)

  • John S Earle

    () ([1] Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, USA [2] CEU Labor Project, Hungary [3] 300 South Westnedge Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI 49007, USA.)

  • Vladimir Gimpelson

    ([1] CLMS, Higher School of Economics, Russia [2] IZA, Germany)

  • Rostislav Kapeliushnikov

    (CLMS, Higher School of Economics, Russia)

  • Hartmut Lehmann

    ([1] University of Bologna, Italy [2] Heriot-Watt University, UK [3] Labor Group EROC, Kiev School of Economics, Ukraine [4] IZA, Germany)

  • Álmos Telegdy

    (CEU Labor Project, Institute of Economics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary)

  • Irina Vantu

    (CEU Labor Project, Hungary)

  • Ruxandra Visan

    (CEU Labor Project, Hungary)

  • Alexandru Voicu

    ([1] City University of New York, Staten Island College, USA [2] IZA, Germany)


This paper looks behind the standard, publicly available labor force statistics relied upon in most studies of transition economy labor markets. We analyse microdata on detailed labor force survey (LFS) responses in Russia, Romania, and Estonia to measure nonstandard, boundary forms and alternative definitions of employment and unemployment. Our calculations show that measured rates are quite sensitive to definition, particularly in the treatment of household production (subsistence agriculture), unpaid family helpers, and discouraged workers, while the categories of part-time work and other forms of marginal attachment are still relatively unimportant. We find that tweaking the official definitions in apparently minor ways can produce alternative employment rates that are sharply higher in Russia but much lower in Romania and slightly lower in Estonia, and alternative unemployment rates that are sharply higher in Romania and moderately higher in Estonia and Russia. Comparative Economic Studies (2006) 48, 435–457. doi:10.1057/palgrave.ces.8100181

Suggested Citation

  • J David Brown & John S Earle & Vladimir Gimpelson & Rostislav Kapeliushnikov & Hartmut Lehmann & Álmos Telegdy & Irina Vantu & Ruxandra Visan & Alexandru Voicu, 2006. "Nonstandard Forms and Measures of Employment and Unemployment in Transition: A Comparative Study of Estonia, Romania, and Russia," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 48(3), pages 435-457, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:compes:v:48:y:2006:i:3:p:435-457

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Tito Boeri & Katherine Terrell, 2002. "Institutional Determinants of Labor Reallocation in Transition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 51-76, Winter.
    5. Earle, John S. & Sakova, Zuzana, 2000. "Business start-ups or disguised unemployment? Evidence on the character of self-employment from transition economies," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(5), pages 575-601, September.
    6. Lori G. Kletzer, 1998. "Job Displacement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 115-136, Winter.
    7. John S. Earle, 1997. "Industrial Decline and Labor Reallocation in Romania," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 118, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    8. 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. Voskoboynikov, Ilya B., 2012. "New measures of output, labour and capital in industries of the Russian economy," GGDC Research Memorandum GD-123, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
    2. Kerly Krillo & Jaan Masso, 2010. "The Part-Time/Full-Time Wage Gap in Central and Eastern Europe: the Case of Estonia," Research in Economics and Business: Central and Eastern Europe, Tallinn School of Economics and Business Administration, Tallinn University of Technology, vol. 2(1).
    3. Nuria Rodriguez-Planas†, 2007. "What Works Best For Getting The Unemployed Back To Work: Employment Services Or Small-Business Assistance Programmes? Evidence From Romania," Working Papers 2007-32, FEDEA.
    4. Tamar Khitarishvili, 2016. "Gender Dimensions of Inequality in the Countries of Central Asia, South Caucasus, and Western CIS," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_858, Levy Economics Institute.
    5. H. Lehmann & T. Razzolini & A. Zaiceva, 2017. "Internal Devaluation and Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from Latvia," Working Papers wp1095, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    6. John Earle, 2012. "Industrial decline and labor reallocation in a transforming economy: Romania in early transition," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 1(1), pages 1-18, December.
    7. Núria Rodríguez-Planas & Benus Jacob, 2010. "Evaluating active labor market programs in Romania," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 65-84, February.
    8. Nuria Rodriguez-Planas† & Jacob Benus, 2007. "Evaluative Active Labor Market Programmes in Romania," Working Papers 2007-31, FEDEA.
    9. Kenneth Smith, 2011. "Labor force participation in the Soviet and post-Soviet Baltic States," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 44(4), pages 335-355, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • P23 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Factor and Product Markets; Industry Studies; Population


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