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Mass privatisation and the post-communist mortality crisis: is there really a relationship

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  • John Sutherland Earle
  • Scott Gehlbach

Abstract

We reexamine the recent, well-publicized claim that "rapid mass privatisation [of state-owned enterprises]... was a crucial determinant of differences in adult mortality trends in post-communist countries" (Stuckler, King and McKee, 2009). Our analysis shows that the estimated correlation of privatization and mortality in country-level data is not robust to recomputing the mass-privatization measure, to assuming a short lag for economic policies to affect mortality, and to controlling for country-specific mortality trends. Further, in an analysis of the determinants of mortality in Russian regions, we find no evidence that privatization increased mortality during the early 1990s. Finally, we reanalyze the relationship between privatization and unemployment in postcommunist countries, showing that there is little support for the proposed mechanism by which privatization might have increased mortality.

Suggested Citation

  • John Sutherland Earle & Scott Gehlbach, 2010. "Mass privatisation and the post-communist mortality crisis: is there really a relationship," UCL SSEES Economics and Business working paper series 105, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES).
  • Handle: RePEc:see:wpaper:105
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Irina Denisova, 2009. "Mortality in Russia: Microanalysis," Working Papers w0128, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
    2. Brown, J. David & Earle, John S. & Vakhitov, Volodymyr, 2006. "Wages, layoffs, and privatization: Evidence from Ukraine," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, pages 272-294.
    3. 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.
    4. Elizabeth Brainerd & David M. Cutler, 2005. "Autopsy on an Empire: Understanding Mortality in Russia and the Former Soviet Union," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, pages 107-130.
    5. J. David Brown & John S. Earle & Scott G. Gellbach, "undated". "Helping Hand or Grabbing hand? State Bureaucracy and Privatization Effectiveness," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles jse20091, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    6. Brown, J. David & Earle, John S. & Vakhitov, Volodymyr, 2006. "Wages, layoffs, and privatization: Evidence from Ukraine," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, pages 272-294.
    7. Cornia, Giovanni Andrea & Paniccia, Renato (ed.), 2000. "The Mortality Crisis in Transitional Economies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198297413.
    8. Stillman, Steven, 2006. "Health and nutrition in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union during the decade of transition: A review of the literature," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 104-146.
    9. J. David Brown & John S. Earle, "undated". "The Reallocation of Workers and Jobs in Russian Industry: New Evidence on Measures and Determinants," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles jse20031, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    10. J. David Brown & John S. Earle & Almos Telegdy, "undated". "The Productivity Effects of Privatization: Longitudnal Estimates for Hungary, romania, Russia, and Ukraine," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles jse20063, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    11. repec:cup:apsrev:v:103:y:2009:i:02:p:264-283_09 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Gerry, Christopher J., 2012. "The journals are full of great studies but can we believe the statistics? Revisiting the Mass Privatisation – Mortality Debate," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 14-22.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out
    • P2 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies
    • P31 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Socialist Enterprises and Their Transitions
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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