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A Neoclassical Theory Of Wage Arrears In Transition Economies


  • Lilia Maliar

    () (Universidad de Alicante)

  • Serguei Maliar

    (Universidad de Alicante)


The paper proposes a theory of the wage arrears phenomenon in transition economies. We build on the standard one-sector neoclassical growth model. The neoclassical firms in transition make losses and use wage arrears as the survival strategy. At the agents' level, the randomness in the timing and extent of wage payments act as idiosyncratic shocks to earnings. We calibrate the model to reproduce evidence from the Ukrainian data and assess its quantitative implications. We find that wage arrears imply substantial social costs such as the consumption loss of 8% - 16% and the welfare loss from idiosyncratic uncertainty, equivalent to an additional consumption loss of 1% - 6%.

Suggested Citation

  • 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).
  • Handle: RePEc:ivi:wpasad:2003-15

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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. Christopher J. Gerry & Byung-Yeon Kim & Carmen A Li, 2004. "The gender wage gap and wage arrears in Russia: Evidence from the RLMS," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 17(2), pages 267-288, June.
    4. Lehmann, Hartmut & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 2001. "Wage Arrears and the Distribution of Earnings in Russia," IZA Discussion Papers 410, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-684.
    6. Huggett, Mark, 1997. "The one-sector growth model with idiosyncratic shocks: Steady states and dynamics," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 385-403, August.
    7. G. Alfandari & M.E. Schaffer, 1996. ""Arrears" in the Russian Enterprise Sector," CERT Discussion Papers 9608, Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University.
    8. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith & Jr., 1998. "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in the Macroeconomy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 867-896, October.
    9. 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).
    10. 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).
    11. Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 1997. "Computation of equilibria in heterogeneous agent models," Staff Report 231, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    12. Huggett, Mark, 1993. "The risk-free rate in heterogeneous-agent incomplete-insurance economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 953-969.
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    More about this item


    neoclassical growth model; idiosyncratic shocks; transition economies;

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
    • P2 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies


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