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"Mass Privatisation and the Post-Communist Mortality Crisis": Is There Really a Relationship?

Listed author(s):
  • John S. Earle

    (W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and Central European University)

  • Scott Gehlbach

    (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

We reexamine the well-publicized claim that "rapid mass privatisation [of state-owned enterprises] . . . was a crucial determinant of differences in adult mortality trends in postcommunist 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.

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Paper provided by W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in its series Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles with number 10-162.

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Date of creation: Feb 2010
Handle: RePEc:upj:weupjo:10-162
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  1. J. David Brown & John Earle & Scott Gehlbach, 2008. "Helping Hand or Grabbing Hand? State Bureaucracy and Privatization Effectiveness," CERT Discussion Papers 0806, Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University.
  2. Elizabeth Brainerd & David M. Cutler, 2004. "Autopsy on an Empire: Understanding Mortality in Russia and the Former Soviet Union," NBER Working Papers 10868, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. J. David Brown & John Earle & Vladimir Vakhitov, 2006. "Wages, Layoffs, and Privatization: Evidence from Ukraine," CERT Discussion Papers 0601, Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University.
  4. J. David Brown & John S. Earle & Almos Telegdy, 2005. "The Productivity Effects of Privatization: Longitudinal Estimates from Hungary, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 05-121, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  5. John S. Earle & J. David Brown, 2002. "The Reallocation of Workers and Jobs in Russian Industry: New Evidence on Measures and Determinants," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 02-83, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  6. 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, vol. 4(1), pages 104-146, January.
  7. 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.
  8. Irina Denisova, 2009. "Mortality in Russia: Microanalysis," Working Papers w0128, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  9. Cornia, Giovanni Andrea & Paniccia, Renato (ed.), 2000. "The Mortality Crisis in Transitional Economies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198297413, December.
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