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Helping Hand or Grabbing Hand? State Bureaucracy and Privatization Effectiveness

  • Brown, J. David


    (U.S. Census Bureau)

  • Earle, John S.


    (George Mason University)

  • Gehlbach, Scott


    (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Why have economic reforms aimed at reducing the role of the state been successful in some cases but not others? Are reform failures the consequence of leviathan states that hinder private economic activity, or of weak states unable to implement policies effectively and provide a supportive institutional environment? We explore these questions in a study of privatization in postcommunist Russia. Taking advantage of large regional variation in the size of public administrations, and employing a multilevel research design that controls for pre-privatization selection in the estimation of regional privatization effects, we examine the relationship between state bureaucracy and the impact of privatization on firm productivity. We find that privatization is more effective in regions with relatively large bureaucracies. Our analysis suggests that this effect is driven by the impact of bureaucracy on the post-privatization business environment, with better institutional support and less corruption when bureaucracies are large.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3958.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: American Political Science Review, 2009, 103(2), 264-283
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3958
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  1. Boycko, Maxim & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1997. "Privatizing Russia," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522284, June.
  2. J. David Brown & John S. Earle & Almos Telegdy, 2006. "The Productivity Effects of Privatization: Longitudinal Estimates from Hungary, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(1), pages 61-99, February.
  3. Stephen G. Donald & Kevin Lang, 2007. "Inference with Difference-in-Differences and Other Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 221-233, May.
  4. Frye, Timothy & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2001. "Rackets, Regulation and the Rule of Law," CEPR Discussion Papers 2716, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
  6. Jeffry M. Netter & William L. Megginson, 2001. "From State to Market: A Survey of Empirical Studies on Privatization," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 321-389, June.
  7. Djankov, Simeon & Murrell, Peter, 2002. "Enterprise Restructuring in Transition: A Quantitative Survey," CEPR Discussion Papers 3319, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Maxim Boycko & Marek Dabrowski & Rudiger Dornbusch & Richard Layard & Andrei Shleifer, 1993. "Post-Communist Reform: Pain and Progress," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262023628, June.
  9. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
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