IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Community Norms and Organizational Practices: The Legitimization of Wage Arrears in Russia, 1992-1999

  • Earle, John S.


    (George Mason University)

  • Spicer, Andrew


    (University of California, Riverside)

  • Peter, Klara Sabirianova


    (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

What role do community norms play in the diffusion and persistence of new organizational practices? We explore this question through an examination of the widespread practice of wage arrears, the late and non-payment of wages, in Russia during the 1990s. Existing research on wage arrears most often examines this practice as a means of flexible wage adjustment under difficult economic conditions. We develop an alternative theory that explains wage arrears through their acceptance as a legitimate form of organizational behavior within local communities. Our empirical analysis finds some support for the neoclassical position that wage arrears reflect adjustment to negative shocks, but this perspective fails to account for a number of important facts, including a high level of arrears among apparently successful firms. In contrast, our results find strong support for the institutional perspective. The statistical analysis demonstrates powerful and robust community effects both in firm adoption of this practice, controlling for firm performance, liquidity, and fixed firm effects, and in workers’ reaction to arrears, through their quit (exit) and strike (voice) behavior.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1006.

in new window

Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1006
Contact details of provider: Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page:

Order Information: Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Farber, Henry S, 1994. "The Analysis of Interfirm Worker Mobility," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(4), pages 554-93, October.
  2. North, Douglass C, 1994. "Economic Performance through Time," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 359-68, June.
  3. Frank, Robert H., 1993. "Choosing the Right Pond: Human Behavior and the Quest for Status," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195049459.
  4. Hartmut Lehmann & Jonathan Wadsworth & Alessandro Acquisti, 1998. "Grime and punishment: job insecurity and wage arrears in the Russian Federation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20251, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Richard Layard & Ansgar Richter, 1995. "How Much Unemployment is Needed for Restructuring?: The Russian Experience," CEP Discussion Papers dp0238, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  6. John S. Earle & Klara Z. Sabirianova, 2002. "How Late to Pay? Understanding Wage Arrears in Russia," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 02-77, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  7. Robert H. Topel & Michael P. Ward, 1988. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," NBER Working Papers 2649, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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).
  9. Poirier, Dale J., 1991. "Editor's introduction," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1-2), pages 1-4.
  10. 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.
  11. Farber, Henry S., 1999. "Mobility and stability: The dynamics of job change in labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 37, pages 2439-2483 Elsevier.
  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. Pencavel, John H, 1972. "Wages, Specific Training, and Labor Turnover in US Manufacturing Industries," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 13(1), pages 53-64, February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1006. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.