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Gross worker and job flows in a transition economy : an analysis of Estonia

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  • Haltiwanger, John C.
  • Vodopivec, Milan

Abstract

With the transition in Estonia, worker flows increased greatly, driven by an increase in job flows. As the situation stabilized, the job and worker flows converged at rates similar to those observed in Western economies. In 1989, job reallocation accounted for only a small fraction of overall worker reallocation, which was less than 15 percent. By 1993, the worker reallocation rate exceeded 35 percent, more than two-thirds of it attributable to job reallocation. The dramatic increase in job flows was the result of increased separations, as jobs were eliminated. In 1992, early in the transition, the situation looked ominous but in only a couple of years new jobs and hires surged as well. By 1994, the hiring rate exceeded the separation rate, and jobs were being created faster thanthey were being eliminated. Increased job and worker reallocations did not affect all sectors or types of employee the same way. More jobs were eliminated in large state manufacturing firms and more jobs were created by smaller, private service, and trade-oriented employers. Virtually all of the new jobs came from the private sector (although many jobs were eliminated there, too). The elimination of so many jobs accounted for about half the increase in direct job-to-job transitions (from less than 5 percent in 1989 to 15 percent in 1994). Opening product and labor markets in Estonia led to a remarkable surge in worker and job flows. Early in the transition so many jobs were eliminated that things looked ominous, but within a couple years small private firms led the surge in new jobs and hiring.

Suggested Citation

  • Haltiwanger, John C. & Vodopivec, Milan, 1999. "Gross worker and job flows in a transition economy : an analysis of Estonia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2082, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2082
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