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How Much Unemployment is Needed for Restructuring?: The Russian Experience

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  • Richard Layard
  • Ansgar 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Layard & Ansgar Richter, 1995. "How Much Unemployment is Needed for Restructuring?: The Russian Experience," CEP Discussion Papers dp0238, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0238
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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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Polterovich, Victor, 2000. "Employment- wage decisions in the insider-owned firm," BOFIT Discussion Papers 1/2000, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
    2. Koumakhov, R. & Najman, B., 1999. "Labor Hoarding in Russia: Where Does it Come From ?," DELTA Working Papers 1999-23, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Brown, J. David & Earle, John S., 2002. "Gross Job Flows in Russian Industry Before and After Reforms: Has Destruction Become More Creative?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 96-133, March.
    6. 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.
    7. Boyarchuk, Dmytro & Maliar, Lilia & Maliar, Serguei, 2005. "The consumption and welfare implications of wage arrears in transition economies," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 540-564, September.
    8. Ansgar Belke & Martin Hebler, 2000. "EU enlargement and labour markets in the CEECs," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer;German National Library of Economics;Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), vol. 35(5), pages 219-230, September.
    9. 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).
    10. Elizabeth Brainerd, 2000. "How Does Privatization Affect Workers? The Case of the Russian Mass Privatization Program," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 303, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    11. World Bank, 2003. "The Russian Labor Market : Moving from Crisis to Recovery," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15007, January.
    12. 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).
    13. 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.
    14. John S. Earle & Klara Z. Sabirianova, 2000. "Equilibrium Wage Arrears: Institutional Lock-In of Contractual Failure in Russia," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 321, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    15. John S. Earle & Andrew Spicer & Klara Z. Sabirianova, 2003. "Community Norms and Organizational Practices: The Legitimization of Wage Arrears in Russia, 1992-1999," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 03-97, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    16. Bertocchi, Graziella & Spagat, Michael, 1997. "Structural uncertainty and subsidy removal for economies in transition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(9), pages 1709-1733, December.
    17. John S. Earle & Klara Sabirianova Peter, 2004. "Contract Violations, Neighborhood Effects, And Wage Arrears In Russia," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2004-708, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    18. Lilia Maliar & Serguei Maliar, 2003. "A Neoclassical Theory Of Wage Arrears In Transition Economies," Working Papers. Serie AD 2003-15, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    19. Maxim Bouev, 2004. "Diverging Paths: Transition in the Presence of the Informal Sector," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2004-689, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    20. Natalia Smirnova, 2003. "Job Search Behavior of Unemployed in Russia," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2003-629, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    21. J David Brown & John S Earle, 2006. "Job Reallocation and Productivity Growth in the Ukrainian Transition," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 48(2), pages 229-251, June.
    22. Vladislav Flek & Jiri Vecernik, 1998. "Employment and Wage Structures in the Czech Republic," Archive of Monetary Policy Division Working Papers 1998/03, Czech National Bank.
    23. John S. Earle & Klara Sabirianova Peter, 2006. "Complementarity and Custom in Contract Violation," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 06-129, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    24. Maxim Bouev, 2001. "Labor Supply, Informal Economy and Russian Transition," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 408, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    25. Hartmut Lehmann & Jonathon Wadsworth & Alessandro Acquisti, 1997. "Grime and Punishment: Employment, Wages and Wage Arrears in the Russian Federation," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 103, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.

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