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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
  • John S. Earle
  • Vladimir Gimpelson
  • Rostislav Kapeliushnikov
  • Hartmut Lehmann
  • Álmos Telegdy


  • Irina Vantu
  • Ruxandra Visan
  • Alexandru Voicu

This paper looks behind the standard, publicly available employment and unemployment statistics that studies of transition economy labor markets have typically relied upon. We analyze microdata on detailed labor force survey responses in Russia, Romania, and Estonia to measure nonstandard, boundary forms and alternative definitions of labor force status. Our estimates show that measured employment and unemployment 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.

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Paper provided by Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences in its series Budapest Working Papers on the Labour Market with number 0602.

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Date of creation: 31 Mar 2006
Date of revision: 31 Mar 2006
Handle: RePEc:has:bworkp:0602
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  1. Hartmut Lehmann & Jonathan Wadsworth & Alessandro Asquisti, 1999. "Grime and Punishment: Job Insecurity and Wage Arrears in the Russian Federation," LICOS Discussion Papers 7999, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  2. Tito Boeri & Katherine Terrell, 2001. "Institutional Determinants of Labor Reallocation in Transition," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 384, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  3. 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).
  4. John S. Earle & Klara Sabirianova Peter, . "How Late to Pay? Understanding Wage Arrears in Russia," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles jse20023, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  5. 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.
  6. Lori G. Kletzer, 1998. "Job Displacement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 115-136, Winter.
  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. 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.
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