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The Legacy of Communist Labor Relations

  • David G. Blanchflower
  • Richard B. Freeman

This paper contrasts International Social Science Programme (ISSP) surveys for Hungary, supplemented with related survey data for East Germany, Poland, and Slovenia, with ISSP data for Western countries, to examine the extent to which workers in traditionally communist societies differ in their attitudes toward work conditions, wage inequality, the role of unions and the role of the state in determining labor market outcomes. We find sufficiently marked differences in responses between Hungary and the other previously communist countries and in Western countries to suggest that communism left an identifiable common legacy in the labor area. The citizens of former communist countries evince a greater desire for egalitarianism, are less satisfied with their jobs, and are more supportive of state interventions in the job market and economy than Westerners. These differences suggest that the move to a market economy will be marked by considerable 'social schizophrenia' due to an attitudinal legacy of their communist past.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4740.

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Date of creation: May 1994
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Publication status: published as Blanchflower, David G. and Richard B. Freeman. "The Attitudinal Legacy Of Communist Labor Relations," International Labor Relations Review, 1997, v50(3,Apr), 438-459.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4740
Note: LS
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  1. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
  2. George A. Akerlof & Andrew K. Rose & Janet L. Yellen & Helga Hessenius, 1991. "East Germany in from the Cold: The Economic Aftermath of Currency Union," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(1), pages 1-106.
  3. Freeman, Richard B, 1978. "Job Satisfaction as an Economic Variable," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 135-41, May.
  4. David G. Blanchflower, 2007. "International Patterns of Union Membership," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 45(1), pages 1-28, 03.
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