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Public Employment and Redistributive Politics: Evidence from Russia’s Regions

Author

Listed:
  • Gimpelson, Vladimir

    () (CLMS, Higher School of Economics, Moscow)

  • Treisman, Daniel

    () (University of California, Los Angeles)

  • Monusova, Galina

    (Russian Academy of Science)

Abstract

Public employment grew surprisingly fast in Russia during the 1990s, at a time when total employment was falling. Most of this growth occurred in the country’s 89 regions, and rates varied among them. This paper seeks to explain this variation. Using panel data for 78 regions over 1992-1998 we test several hypotheses. We show that the increase in the share of public employment in total employment has been greatest where unemployment was highest and growing the fastest, in ethnically defined territorial units, and in regions which received larger federal transfers and loans. Regional governors appear to use public employment for several purposes: as a kind of economic insurance to cushion the population against unemployment; as a way of buying votes before elections; and, possibly, as a way of redistributing to minority ethnic groups. Their willingness to use it for any of these is conditioned by the level of federal financial aid they can attract. The paradoxical growth of public employment in Russia appears less a result of ignorant or irresolute central management than a perverse outgrowth of the competitive game of federal politics, in which regional governors use public sector workers as "hostages" to extract transfers.

Suggested Citation

  • Gimpelson, Vladimir & Treisman, Daniel & Monusova, Galina, 2000. "Public Employment and Redistributive Politics: Evidence from Russia’s Regions," IZA Discussion Papers 161, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp161
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jeffrey M. Davis & A. Cheasty, 1996. "Fiscal Transition in Countries of the Former Soviet Union; An Interim Assessment," IMF Working Papers 96/61, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Alesina, Alberto & Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William, 2000. "Redistributive Public Employment," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 219-241, September.
    3. Albert Alesina & Stephan Danninger & Massimo Rostagno, 2001. "Redistribution Through Public Employment: The Case of Italy," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 48(3), pages 1-2.
    4. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284.
    5. repec:cup:apsrev:v:72:y:1978:i:04:p:1243-1261_15 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Pierre-Richard Agénor, 1996. "The Labor Market and Economic Adjustment," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 43(2), pages 261-335, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Andersson, Frederik & Konrad, Kai A., 2001. "Globalization and human capital formation
      [Globalisierung und Humankapitalinvestitionen]
      ," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance FS IV 01-01, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    2. Klugman, Jeni & Micklewright, John & Redmond, Gerry, 2002. "Poverty in the Transition: Social Expenditures and the Working-Age Poor," CEPR Discussion Papers 3389, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Marta Curto-Grau, 2014. "Voters’ responsiveness to public employment policies," Working Papers 2014/19, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    regional governments; redistribution; Public employment; wage arrears; Russia; transition; unemployment; trans-fers; wages;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • P52 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Studies of Particular Economies

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