Redundancies in an industry in transition: who gets fired and why? Evidence from one consumer-goods industry in Russia
Does employee productivity explain why during a period of crisis firms fired relatively more blue-collar than white-collar workers and why, when conditions improved, they began to hire relatively more blue collars? Are redundancies targeted towards the least productive workers? Was firms’ behaviour profit maximising? These questions are investigated in the extreme circumstances of the footwear industry in Russia in the period 1994-2000. Firms in this industry underwent a major upheaval in these years. Part of their response was to downsize the blue-collar workforce more severely than the whitecollars. Was this because (a) white collar employees had higher marginal productivity or (b) because the technical rate of substitution of white collar labour with blue collar labour was greater than the factor price ratio of these two inputs If it turns out that the marginal productivity of white collar employees was the higher, we could conclude that they were embodying more human capital (Becker, 1962); if they were no more productive than blue collars, this could mean that they had been privileged during downsizing for some institutional reasons, e.g. a prior commitment towards higher-ranking staff (Lazear, 1979; Lazear and Rosen, 1981). If it turns out that the technical rate of substitution of white collar labour with blue collar labour was greater than their factor price ratio, this would suggest that the firms’ downsizing policies were consistent with profit-maximising precepts. Russian footwear is a suitable industry for investigation because there are many units, which use a standard technology, and with relatively little political interference. The paper uses Translog and Cobb Douglas production functions with ordinary least squares, two-step least squares and stochastic frontier analysis, both in a panel and in a cross-section setting. Results show that white collar employees were not only more productive than blue collar employees but also the technical rate of substitution of white collar labour with blue collar labour was greater than the factor price ratio of these two inputs. This suggests that even in a turbulent period and with a Soviet heritage, the firms behaved as profit-maximising agents. Institutional factors may also have operated, but they do not need to be invoked in explaining the data.
|Date of creation:||30 May 2007|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany|
Web page: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Saul Estrin & Alan A. Bevan & Boris Kuznetsov & Mark E. Schaffer & Manuela Angelucci & Julian Fennema & Giovanni Mangiarotti, 2001.
"The Determinants of Privatised Enterprise Performance in Russia,"
William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series
452, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
- Angelucci, Manuela & Bevan, Alan & Estrin, Saul & Fennema, Julian A & Kuznetsov, Boris & Mangiarotti, Giovanni & Schaffer, Mark E, 2002. "The Determinants of Privatized Enterprise Performance in Russia," CEPR Discussion Papers 3193, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Gary S. Becker, 1962. "Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 9-9.
- Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-1284, December.
- Paul J. Devereux, 2000.
"Task assignment over the business cycle,"
Open Access publications
10197/313, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
- Walter Y. Oi, 1962. "Labor as a Quasi-Fixed Factor," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 538-538.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:21940. 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: (Joachim Winter)
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.